Sound — 9
Having achieved huge commercial success with their sophomore album, 2007's Riot!, Paramore were under a lot of pressure (no pun intended), to deliver their strongest album yet. As a result of their intensive touring throughout 2007 and 2008, which also saw the release of live album The Final Riot!, emotions were running high amongst the members of the band, to the point where they almost called it a day. However, they pulled through, and the resulting album, Brand New Eyes, which chronicles the developing relationships of the band members, is possibly their best effort to date. 01. Careful: straight from the same box as For A Pessimist, I'm Pretty Optimistic, the opener of Riot!, this is a fast paced song which develops quickly, resulting in an intro, verse and chorus within the first 75 seconds. This is all well and good, but it does cause it to be a bit repetitive. Zac's drumming takes centre stage here, providing a good solid beat with fills everywhere. The guitar solo reminds me of Emergency, for reasons I can't work out. 7/10. Best lyric: The truth never set me free, so I'll do it myself. 02. Ignorance: this was the first single to be released from the album, and has already given Misery Business a run for its money as Paramore's most successful single. Due to excessive airplay, the song debuted at #14 on the UK Singles Chart and #1 on the UK Rock Chart, although it only peaked at #67 on the mainstream American chart, the Billboard Hot 100. Lyrically, Ignorance is one of Hayley Williams' most honest songs, and is basically a rant at her fellow band members and how she felt towards them at the time. Musically, the intro riff is instantly recognisable, but nothing special. As usual, Hayley's voice is the most important part of the song. 8/10. Best lyric: Ignorance is your new best friend. 03. Playing God: this song really gives an insight into how the band were feeling towards each other when they were writing this album. It follows the typical Paramore formula musically, but why fix something that isn't broken? The lyrics are rather cheesy in places, but the chorus is catchy enough to carry the song. Certainly not one of the more memorable songs on the album. 6/10. Best lyric: Next time you point the finger, I'll point you to the mirror. 04. Brick By Boring Brick: set to be released as the 2nd single from the album, this is not only the best song on the album, but possibly the best Paramore song to date. The lyrical content is the most original thing about this song, which is based on a fairytale theme, but unfortunately has more potential than Hayley manages to squeeze out of it. All in all, the acoustic version from MTV Unplugged is better than the album version, possibly because the chanting section sounds better with a live audience joining in. 10/10. Best lyric: Keep your feet on the ground when your head's in the clouds. 05. Turn It Off: again, musically this is nothing special, Josh's octave-based guitar riffs once again taking over. It's the emotion in Hayley's voice that carries this song forward, with the chorus containing possibly the best vocal melody on the album. There's also a nice rolling snare beat in the verse, creating an interesting feel for what is basically a pop song. 7/10. Best lyric: And in the freefall I will realise I'm better off when I hit the bottom. 06. The Only Exception: finally, a bit of musical variety. This starts out as a quiet, melodic ballad and stays that way throughout, which in itself shows how the band have matured, having previously had a tendency to slip back into full-on rock mode after 30 seconds. The lyrics delve into Hayley's childhood, and address how her family fell apart and the effect it has had on her. This is how We Are Broken would have sounded had they got it completely right first time. There is a lot of repetion, but considerably more effort has been put into the arrangement of this song than Paramore songs of the past, where they regularly fell into the trap of straight repeats of identical choruses taking over songs. 8/10. Best lyric: Up until now I had sworn to myself that I was content with loneliness. 07. Feeling Sorry: if ever there was a mood killer in an album, this is it. It just doesn't follow The Only Exception well at all. That said, it's not a bad song on its own. There is an obvious New Found Glory influence here, which doesn't come as much of a surprise. The lyrics are aimed at bassist Jeremy Davis, and how Hayley felt about him when tensions were at their highest. Truth be told, this could have come straight off the band's first album, All We Know Is Falling, and doesn't really show any development from the music written by the spotty 16 year olds who wrote that album. 6/10. Best lyrics: I won't look back 'cause there's no use, it's time to move forward. 08. Looking Up: yet again, typical Paramore. However, this marks a turning point in the album, with positivity finally shining through over the negative vibes the album gives off to this point. The lyrics focus on how the band actually love being together, and describe their feelings towards the lifestyle of touring musicians. 7/10. Best lyric: I can't believe we almost hung it up, we're just getting started. 09. Where The Lines Overlap: this song sounds like it was written in 5 minutes. It's just a repetitive pop song from the same box as Miracle, and is nothing but filler. The lyrics build on Looking Up, but overall this track just seems unnecessary. The whole band joining in with the singing is a nice touch, however, and shows the unity they've regained after coming so close to collapse. 5/10. Best lyric: Now I've got a feeling if I sang this loud enough you would sing it back to me. 10. Misguided Ghosts: it's just Hayley, Josh and Taylor for this song, which is completely acousic. Josh and Taylor's guitar work is excellent, both playing different parts which fit together to sound like one impossible part. Hayley demonstrates her versatility as a singer by bringing out the tender and fragile side of her voice, and it is this innocence which makes the song. 9/10. Best lyric: I am going away for a while, but I'll be back, don't try and follow. 11. All I Wanted: there is absolutely nothing worth focusing on in this song other than Hayley's voice. Yes, the music is good and develops from a quiet ballad to a dark rock song, but the vocals are absolutely monstrous. No Paramore song has ever showcased the sheer power of Hayley's voice better than this, and to think such a massive sound can come from such a small woman is absolutely astounding. The quiet, passionate intro boosts the effect of the chorus even more, with Hayley practically screaming down the microphone. It will be interesting to see whether or not she will be able to hit the top note of the song, at 2.44, live. 10/10. Best lyric: I could follow you to the beginning, just to relive the start.
Lyrics — 7
Typically for Paramore, the lyrics are nothing special. Simple but effective would be the term I'd use. As ever, though, the lyrics are only half the story, and any weaknesses are made up for by the power of Hayley's voice.
Overall Impression — 9
Overall, this is by far Paramore's best album. The production is crystal clear, which is important for an album which will no doubt be huge. The addition of Taylor as an official member seems to have made a real difference, as his maturity as a songwriter is by far greater than any of the other members'. All We Know Is Falling and Riot! both seemed a bit samey, and lacked the variety between songs to make up a truly great album. brand new eyes, however, hits the nail on the head, and I for one will be surprised if Paramore ever come up with a better album.