It seems that many people in this world — the ones that at least halfway appreciate music, that is — have their own personal soundtrack: an album that the listener feels expresses them best. A personal soundtrack is, of course, subject to change without notice — especially with age.
A few years back, every moody teenage girl and her brother were clinging to the works of Evanescence. Shortly thereafter, Evanescence became the fad of yesterday. The younger generation who once regarded them as godlike started to grow up. The personal soundtrack needed a makeover.
Flash-forward a couple of years. A figure of towering godliness to Emo kids everywhere, Paramore has blasted their way to the top of the charts since the release of their second album, Riot! in 2007 — a release that went Platinum in the US and Gold in the UK, Ireland, and New Zealand.
MTV actually went as far as to not broadcast their lame Reality Shows in order to promote the band (they might have even aired a music video or two, but that’s entirely implausible and hard to prove). And then, the prominent inclusion of their moody-yet-powerful single, “Decode,” on the motion picture soundtrack of Twilight practically instilled them as a household name. And thus, Paramore albums started to become the average youth’s choice for a personal soundtrack.
So, how does the band’s third album, Brand New Eyes, hold up? Not well, in my opinion. Of course, I’m not a teenager anymore, either, so that might have something to do with it.
Fortunately, though, the album is not a complete bust. In fact, it kicks off like a motherfucker. A dynamic ditty by the name of “Careful” opens the album up, which is in-turn followed by the hit single, “Ignorance.” And then comes “Playing God,” a song that has the right feel, the right sound — the right lyrics, even — yet it doesn’t manage to pull its own self off very well. Two more better-than-average tracks, “Brick By Boring Brick” and “Turn It Off,” give the illusion that the album is moving along quite fantastically.
And that’s when the whole thing falls apart, as six very unmemorable and fairly unmotivated tracks crash the album like a pair of pretentious wannabes at an art show. The worst of these tracks by far would be “Misguided Ghosts,” an acoustic track that really shows you how even a Gold-selling group can generate a little Pyrite now and again (for you Grade-Z schlockumentary film lovers, think of The Amazing World Of Ghosts as a song).
Finally, Brand New Eyes manages to redeem itself ever-so-slightly with the show-stopping grand finale, “All I Wanted.” The last track really gives Paramore’s lead, young Hayley Williams, a chance to show how she has grown in terms of both her age (she was only 16 when the band’s first album hit stores) as well as her vocal ability, which is stronger than ever.
Yes, a personal soundtrack can change without notice. It can depend on your mood, your job, your social status even.
But most likely, your age may have something to do with it. Brand New Eyes will probably not replace your present personal soundtrack for any reason — unless you’re a teenager (and most likely female at that) and you sense that Hayley’s lyrics are reaching out to you and you alone (for me, it was Pink Floyd's The Wall and Chess — but that’s another story entirely).
As much as I like some of what Paramore has to offer (and I really, honestly, sincerely do), I cannot help but wonder if they will be another in the long line of fads. It would be a pity if they were, especially since they have mad some memorable contributions to the industry. In the case of Brand New Eyes however, there are only a few contributions gathered here worth listening to. If you’re looking for a new personal soundtrack, just borrow a few songs from this album and mix up a compilation.