Paramore are a bunch of teenagers who have been fighting. Teenagers are a fickle bunch, and when there is an argument, especially one with an orange-haired girl in the centre of it, you can guarantee there will be some strong words exchanged between all parties. brand new eyes (no, there shouldn’t be any capitalization; apparently punctuation isn’t important to teenagers anymore) is the musical result of months of such arguing, so, as you can imagine the songs are rather angry.
The opening four songs of the album set the scene for the last year in Paramore perfectly. The band, who according to rumours were upset at the media’s focus on lead singer and everyone’s favourite punk rocker Hayley Williams, thrashes out four up tempo and emotionally charged songs, with drummer Zac Farro’s violent skin-hitting leading the way.
As if in rebuttal, Williams’ tonally perfect yell returns fire, as she blatantly sings of the band’s troubles in stand out song Ignorance: “If I’m a bad person, you don’t like me/Well I guess I’ll make my own way” and “Yeah we used to stick together/We wrote our names in blood/But I guess you can’t accept that the change is good” as well as furthering this disenfranchisement in Playing God, where the lyrics get even angrier: “You don’t deserve a point of view/If the only thing you see is you,” and, “Next time you point a finger/I might have to bend it back/Or break it, break it off/Next time you point a finger/I’ll point you to the mirror.”
Brick By Boring Brick is another stand-out song where Williams’ intense vocals are juxtaposed over a trebly and relatively minimalist musical accompaniment, making this song one of Paramore’s best. Turn It Off is one of the more depressing songs on the album, where Williams echoes the thoughts of millions of hard-to-please teenagers: “And the worst part is before it gets/Any better/We’re headed for a cliff/And in the free fall I will realize/I’m better off, when I hit the bottom.”
The next two songs, The Only Exception and Feeling Sorry bring love into the equation. The former song, whilst not ground-breaking, is made mentionable via Williams’ vocals which seem to echo deeply personal experiences: “When I was younger/I saw my daddy cry… And my momma swore that/She would never let herself forget/And that was the day I promised/I’d never sing of love/If it does not exist/But darlin’/You are the only exception.” The latter song is a punchy tune that focuses on the possibility that for some godforsaken reason Williams may have been rejected by an unfathomable idiot of a man.
All the anger, angst and emotions on display in the first seven tracks makes Looking Up and Where The Lines Overlap seem absurdly out of place. Looking Up is one of the best tracks on the album, where Williams completely changes the tone of the album with her opening line, “Things are looking up, oh finally!” Sure to be a regular in their live shows, the song perhaps gives an insight into just how close the band was to breaking up, whilst offering a sneak peak into Paramore’s future: “I can’t believe we almost hung it up/We’re just getting started.” Williams’ vocals in the chorus are some of the best of the album and the band’s accompaniment will surely get Paramore fans out of their chairs and bouncing around their poster-clad bedrooms. Moreover, Where The Lines Overlap is another catchy tune where Williams furthers the sudden positivity with a chorus line of “No one is as lucky as us/We’re not at the end but/We already won.”
The album finishes with Misguided Ghosts, a delicately plucked acoustic track that seems unnecessary in the sea of post-grunge rock, and All I Wanted where, once again, the impossibly popular Williams sounds oddly heart-broken: “Think of me when you’re out, when you’re out there/I’ll beg you nice from my knees/When the world treats you way too fairly/It’s a shame I’m a dream/All I wanted was you.” Regardless, it is another catchy tune and a strong note to end the album on.
Paramore have not produced a groundbreaking album. They have not produced eleven tracks that will change the face of rock music. They have, however, produced eleven well written, emotionally charged tracks that are as catchy and yell-along-able as anything produced in recent memory. They have created light and day with a mixture of strong, thumping stadium-filling rock tunes and some delicate acoustic tracks; and their impressive technical ability for such a young band, along with Williams’ sublime vocal range and ability, have resulted in an album that is their most impressive to date. Paramore are here to stay, and you can be damn sure that they are going to let you know about it.