At 20, Hayley Williams has done more than most people dream of doing in their lives. The lead singer of the alternative rock band Paramore will celebrate her twenty-first birthday in December while leading the band through a whirlwind tour of Europe promoting their newest album Brand New Eyes. Already the band’s most successful album to date, Brand New Eyes is enjoying time on the best sellers list and shows no intent to slow down any time soon.
Paramore had enjoyed limited success around the country with the releases of their first album All We Know is Falling in 2005 and their sophomore effort Riot!, which released in 2007, but it wasn’t until two of their track appeared in the film phenomenon Twilight that Paramore found the recognition they deserved.
Brand New Eyes not only showcases the band’s efforts to change up their sounds, but also illustrates how the five members of Paramore are coming into their own as musicians and are branching out to try different things.
For fans of All We Know is Falling, “Careful” is classic Paramore. Williams’s power vocals carry the melody through the syncopated bass and drum rhythms. “Careful” also echoes the theme of Paramore’s albums—heartbreak is unavoidable.
The first single, “Ignorance” fits very much in the vein of Riot! with its driving rock rhythms and sarcastic lyrics that have become a staple of the quintet. “Ignorance is your new best friend” is the last of what Paramore fans are used to hearing from the band.
“Playing God” introduces listeners to the softer side of Paramore. Still relying on tongue-in-cheek lyrics, such as “Next time you point a finger, I might have to bend it back and break it off,” this track sounds like it could be found on Katy Perry’s next solo album. And the new sound isn’t bad, just surprising.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the band’s new work is the beautiful, acoustic “Misguided Ghosts.” It’s no surprise to anyone who has ever heard Paramore that Hayley Williams can sing rock, but “Misguided Ghosts” is a beautiful ballad designed to show not only Williams’s range, but also that powerful rock tunes aren’t the only thing she can pull off.
The closing track of Brand New Eyes is a slower song, but unlike “Misguided Ghosts,” “All I Wanted” packs that Paramore punch. Williams’s lilting voice combined with the guitar talents of Josh Farro, Jeremy Davis, and Taylor York, along with the backing drums performed by Zac Farro, “All I Wanted” is more than enough just a satisfying ending to an album used to introduce a new sound. More than that, however, it’s a promise of what to come.
The members of Paramore are all young, and as they grow and further develop their musical talents, there’s no telling where this band will stop. Through their previous albums, Paramore has shown listeners that they only get better with time and Brand New Ryes is no exception.
Some old fans may criticize the alt-rock quintet for going soft after their success from Twilight, but true fans will realize Paramore for what they’ve always given — a truly enjoyable musical experience.