Paramore – “brand new eyes”

Paramore, the Tennessee quintet that have risen to become pop-punk superstars, are FINALLY back with this, their third studio album entitled brand new eyes. And this time, they’re out with a hell of a lot to prove!! This is by no means the sound of a band continuing to create music for the sake of it. No, this is the sound of a band breaking out of their comfort zone and shouting their message right in your freakin’ face!

If their debut 2005 album All We Know Is Falling was the sound of a small band from Tennessee starting out in the world with good material and catchy hooks and vocals, and their second album in 2007 entitled RIOT! was the sound of them spreading their wings and finding their own voice, then brand new eyes is by far the sound of Paramore taking flight and soaring to entirely new heights of  success. Considering the troubles that the band have experienced in-between RIOT! and brand new eyes (i.e. near break-ups, cancelled tours and personal troubles amongst the band), this album has been called a “cathartic process”, and renewing a “broken band on the brink of separation”, and this is clearly reflected not just by the tone of the music, but in the lyrics and the construction of the album itself.

Careful opens the album with its fantastic swell and burst of an intro, and lyrics that profess “it’s only the real world: a life you will never know” which is great at showing how the first lot of songs on brand new eyes are the ones most fraught and twisted with unsaid feelings. This then leads into debut album single Ignorance, and one of Paramore‘s most abrasive, powerful and hard-hitting songs of their career. It kicks in with Josh Farro and new band addition Taylor York’s jarring staccato bursts of guitar and only increases the pressure of the song with Billy Talent-style backing-yells before bursting through with the line “Ignorance is your New Best Friend”, a line that says more about the fraught and emotional times the band have been through than most people would know, and has been described by Paramore themselves as “the song that saved our band”.

Although Paramore have never really described themselves as a Christian Rock band, they haven’t exactly shied away from their beliefs either, especially with songs like Miracle from RIOT!. However, the song Playing God addresses their beliefs a lot more head-on than before, and speaks of struggling with faith and people’s opinions with lines such as “you don’t deserve a point of view if the only thing you see is you” and is a real display of how much the band have had to grow up being on the road.

Brick By Boring Brick is, to put it bluntly, a pretty awesome song. Hayley Williams’ vocals scale to new heights on this song, the lyrics of which speak of someone living their lives with their head in the clouds whilst their real life isn’t what they want, and contains the chant-along anthem of this album that Woah! and Born For This did on their respective previous two albums. Turn It Off goes back to facing the troubles of how beliefs are tested more and more, whilst The Only Exception presents the first slowed down, love-ish song (it seems too cynical to be a proper love song) of the album.

Feeling Sorry regains some pace to the songs, and starts melding into an attitude that comes out the far end of the darker times the band have been through and steps into the light of their new era, whilst Looking Up brilliantly describes new mentalities amongst the band with lines like “I’ll never trade it in ’cause I’ve always wanted this and it’s not a dream anymore” before finishing with a powerful chant of “I can’t believe we almost hung it up. We’re just getting started!”, which is to say that this “new phase” for the band can only take them to better times.

Where The Lines Overlap is another fantastic set piece of the album that totally contrasts the songs at the start, and is a rock song with almost “anti-rock” lyrics which fully state the new status quo amongst the band. With a chorus that goes “no-one is as lucky as us, we’re not at the end but oh we already won”  and lines dotted throughout the song like “nothing to it, I’ve never been happier”, it’s hard to ignore the fact that this is by far the new shape of Paramore to come. This leads into Misguided Ghosts, which is a beautiful yet haunting acoustic song that lingers under your skin after just one listen. Finally, All I Wanted really shows what Hayley’s voice is capable of, spiralling into the stratosphere towards the end, and bringing the album to a brilliantly sentimental close.

The single Decode that the band wrote for the film Twilight is also included on the album, which in a way is a bit of a shame since it sold so well on the soundtrack that the album could have done without it. However, since it’s a Bonus Track and isn’t used as filler for the actual album, it works out alright and since I don’t own this song anyway, I personally am not complaining too much. It’s still a good song; it’s just that it doesn’t fit the progression and tone of the album all that well.

Overall, brand new eyes is a fantastically dynamic album that progresses from emotive, fraught and abrasive songs to lighter, more moving and passionate songs that show just how much the band have gone through to get to where they are now. This is a collection of brilliantly raw, brutally honest and frankly awesome songs that show just how much growing can be done by one band. This is what growing up sounds like. This is the TRUE sound of Paramore.

To be honest, I love this album. It’s completely fantastic, and is by far my album of the year, if not my life.

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2 Comments

  1. Good write and review. I feel that it was honest and informative. Do you write for any magazine? I’m wondering if you know any more of the band’s struggles with their faith and views of God. The lyrics seem to suggest that perhaps they are doubting and on the brink of falling way… What do you think?

    • The band have always been proud of their beleifs, they’ve just never been overly preachy about it before. There are bands that are proud of their faith, and there are ones that go out and preach it, but thats not Paramore. They’re still happy in their faiths, but the fact of the matter is that growing up is hard for anyone, and its made that much harder by being away from the people they love – families, friends, whatever – whilst they’re out touring. I’m not religious myself, but growing up brings many questions of faith and humanity, and after what they’ve gone through together, that has to take its toll somewhere. BUT, the fact they’re together now and still making music goes to show how much these things can be over come. I dont think they’re really losing their faith or beliefs anytime soon, not now anyway! Thanks for the feedback, and I do write for a magazine, but I write a film section, not music. I post my film section on here as well, under the Listed Magazine entries, hope you like them too! I’m aiming for a decent career in either Film or Music, something I’d be happy to do day in day out! haha Stay cool, and hope I can keep you reading!


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