Review Summary: I've sung a couple of these songs in the shower more times than I care to admit.
Although I’ve been aware of them all for these years, I never made an honest effort to give Paramore a try: all I heard from their previous two albums was simple, bratty pop-punk, and it seemed like it they were just a small step above a Disney-marketed band. But with the group’s third album, Brand New Eyes
, things seem to have hit a turning point, as they’ve ditched their awful haircuts and man-scara and are seemingly putting forth a respectable effort. What exactly did Paramore do on their third album to make themselves much more appealing?
First and foremost, let me just say that the key singles of Brand New Eyes
, “Careful”, “Ignorance” and “Brick by Boring Brick”, are some of the catchiest songs I’ve ever heard. Paramore has been known for catchy singles in the past, but Brand New Eyes
takes things to a whole other level: whether it’s the safe and catchy melodies, the edgy post-hardcore/pop punk guitar riffs or the catchy-beyond-belief choruses, Paramore really showcases a knack for rocking out while effortlessly embedding the choruses of the songs into your long-term memory. Although the strange, almost wandering bridge of “Careful” and the seemingly out-of-place “Ba-da ba-ba da ba-ba-da” of “Brick by Boring Brick” may sound odd on the first listen, these songs really become all the more infectious after a handful of listens, leaving you helpless against their semi-quirky structures and strong melodies.
Really, though - and I’m sorry to bring this up - but what would this band be without Hayley? While the guys of Paramore do a decent job with the music (with specific praise for the drummer, who does a great job with creating some interest amongst the average riffs), Hayley is really the saving grace for Paramore, as she injects a wallop of charisma and charm into the songs with her fantastic voice and spunky delivery. And even though she fits perfectly along with the distorted rock riffs, she really gets to shine on the two acoustic tracks, “The Only Exception” and “Misguided Ghosts”: her graceful, sweet delivery is what really makes these tracks memorable, and her performance alone is reason enough to back and listen over and over again.
But the only real flaw of Brand New Eyes
, despite its numerous catchy songs, is the total lack of consistency. Outside the aforementioned singles and acoustic tracks, Brand New Eyes
really doesn’t have anything too special to offer. Although nothing here is too terrible, “Playing God”, “Feeling Sorry” and “Looking Up” are so bland and completely run-of-the-mill that it almost puts me to sleep. “Where The Lines Overlap” and “All I Wanted” are only memorable because of (surprise!) Hayley’s vocal performance, but even then, the hooks of the songs aren’t strong enough to warrant multiple listens. It isn’t surprising that an album full of catchy singles would be filled with a boring underbelly, but the album’s overall quality suffers as a result nonetheless, with or without Hayley’s terrific performance.
It is with no doubt that Brand New Eyes
displays the band at their best, as it finally seems like the band is hitting their peak. Brand New Eyes
is easily their best album, as their maturity coupled with their catchy song writing makes them more accessible, and ultimately, better all around. Once a grumpy old man who wrote off the band for being too childish and simple, Brand New Eyes
has turned me into a believer, and I’m actually looking forward to what Paramore had to offer in the future…as long as, you know, Hayley sticks around. But that’s a given, right?