Paramore – Brand New Eyes

By Lesedi Ntuli

Since 2007’s “Riot!,” Paramore has certainly erupted into the music scene. The American rock band currently consisting of lead vocalist Hayley Williams, bassist Jeremy Davis, guitarist Taylor York, Josh and Zach Farro worked hard at making their mark. Brand New Eyes however, is their third studio album and is not particularly on par with previous albums. Released in 2009 on September 29th, the album presents Paramore as a powerful, dynamic, and altogether more consistent band. This highly anticipated album, especially after the massive break-through from “Riot!“, resulted in the band releasing innovative and contrasting songs, without losing their signature sound.

Moreover, Brand New Eyes retains the pop rock sound that inhabited Riot!, but more maturely. From this album, we can actually hear that the band has not only grown up, but have grown in to a cynical group. The lyrical content is stronger and profounder than ever, not forgetting Williams’ powerful vocals, that continue to dazzle as they breakthrough in an emotional outpour, pretty much reminding us of Avril Lavigne.

However, the opening song, “Careful,” rocks harder than anything as it is a rocking, yet emotional jumpstart into what the rest of the songs are going to sound like. It almost carries a tad bit of a Saosin-esque vibe. Following “Careful”, you get the debut single “Ignorance,” which is pretty much the appetizer. These two tracks are the group’s most aggressive tunes, baptizing the listener into a Paramore that isn’t afraid to follow the success of Riot. “You don’t deserve a point of view”, yells Hayley Williams on “Playing God“,”the only thing you see is you”. She continues to sing; “Next time you point a finger/I might have to bend it back/Or break it, break it off.” Thankfully, Paramore has turned anger hasn’t affected their talent for crafting a joyful pop song, as evidenced by the likes of “Careful”. 

Brick by Boring Brick” is another highly noticeable song where Williams’ intense vocals are juxtaposed, making this song one of Paramore’s best and one of my personal favourites. It has the power to get one on their feet with its powerful captivating chorus. After that, we are subdued by “Turn It Off“, a less powerful track with a dynamic chorus.

The Only Exception“, being my personal favourite of all time, provides a change of pace as it has a gentle sway, beginning in a sad tone that gradually builds up to the suggestion that genuine love is possible. It is a softer acoustic driven song, which is manifested beautifully into Williams’ controlled and nuanced vocals, which seemingly echo deeper personal experiences as she sings, “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 even though the song gets soppy, she doesn’t. Once again, the maturity of her vocals and song writing is highly noticeable, as well as the bands overall performance.

More interestingly, if you listen closely to the following two songs; “Feeling Sorry” and “Looking Up”, you will realize that they have a connection. Here we can hear how “Looking Up” is blended at the end of “Feeling Sorry“, as it simultaneously continues from where “Feeling Sorry” ends off. However, on “Looking Up”, the lyrics “I can’t believe we almost hung it up, when we’re just getting started!” relinquish past struggles of the band in favour of optimism.

Moreover, the upbeat, catchy tune “Where The Lines Overlap” also seemingly reflects on the bands success. From the closing tracks “Misguided Ghosts” and “All I Wanted”, we see the delicacy of Williams’ vocals laid against sparse instrumentation. Interestingly, the soft acoustic guitar in “Misguided Ghosts” has the kind of effect that will leave you reminiscing of all past events in your life. However, the album ends with the melodic rock tune “All I Wanted“, that seems to simply sum up the album. It gives us an idea of what Brand New Eyes is about: lighter and more different, but still edgy.

Overall and most importantly, I wouldn’t say that Paramore have merely produced a ground-breaking, eleven tracked album that has the potential to change the face of rock music. They have, however, produced eleven brilliant tracks, that are emotionally charging and are as captivating as anything produced in recent history.

 

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