Paramore - Brand New Eyes, Album Review


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Brand New Eyes


Fueled By Ramen
out September 29th

[Rating Scale]


I swear, a Fueled By Ramen record contract must come with a songwriting instruction manual written by Pete Wentz—and Paramore has followed the manual to the letter with its new album, brand new eyes, out September 29th. The album, like every other Fueled By Ramen record I've ever heard, is full of catchy hooks, slick production, shout-along choruses, clever lyrics, and a healthy dose of pop-punk energy. As such, the album isn't much of a departure from the formula that brought Paramore success with its two previous albums.

So the question now is: Does that get you excited? Or were you hoping for something more? If you just loved the first two Paramore albums and want more more more, then by all means, go pick up brand new eyes immediately. If you were hoping for some new directions, some experimentation, perhaps a departure or two, you won't get it from this album.

Still, with each new Paramore record, we realize anew that while the music is quite formulaic, within the narrow confines of their genre these kids can write songs. As the Official Fall Out Boy Songwriting Manual demands, at any given moment in every song, there are at least two interesting things going on: guitar hooks layered on top of guitar hooks, nifty drum tricks, huge dynamic and tempo shifts, and through it all, Hayley Williams is singing, pleading, and shouting with that powerful voice of hers. (And for most of the album, Williams vocals are accentuated even more by the fact that she's singing in triplicate.)

Even the slow songs on brand new eyes, "The Only Exception" and "Misguided Ghosts," are tender, well-crafted tunes that act as breakers for the pop-punk waves to crash against.

The uptempo songs range from the ferocious (like opener "Careful" and knockout first single "Ignorance") to the anthemic ("Turn It Off," "All I Wanted"). Paramore has 10 adequate choices for a follow-up single to "Ignorance," and while none of them stand out as a ready-made radio hit, I'm guessing you'll be hearing a bunch of them in heavy rotation throughout the next year.

The kids in Paramore have shown they can write catchy tunes, and that they can adhere to the pop-punk formula that moves records and sells summer festival tickets. But is that enough? Should we be expecting more from them, album after album? Should they be transcending the (generally unimaginative) pop-punk genre, instead of symbolizing it?

brand new eyes is a fun bunch of songs, and we'll enjoy it as such. But perhaps in a couple years it'll be time to expect more from this obviously talented band. Fueled By Ramen's songwriting manual will need to be updated by then anyway.

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