The members of Paramore almost didn’t make it to their third album. In 2008, they cancelled their European tour due to internal band issues, and recording sessions in their hometown of Franklin, Tenn. were not going smoothly.
Luckily for us, Paramore headed out to Calabasas, Calif. to work with producer Rob Cavallo (Green Day), and the result is one exceptional album.
The first five tracks, including their first single “Ignorance,” kick the album open with upbeat songs full of energy and often anger. Even with the addictive hooks, the album (titled “Brand New Eyes”) largely deals with the band members’ rocky friendships and almost having to call it quits. “Playing God” has a remarkably catchy chorus, even as singer Hayley Williams warns, “Next time you point a finger I might have to bend it back or break it, break it off.”
On the B-side, “Eyes” wisely takes a slower turn with ballads like “The Only Exception” and “Misguided Ghosts.” These both represent an appreciated change of pace for an album that starts off with so much energy. The last track, “All I Wanted,” full of powerful vocals and layered guitars, is one of the strongest songs of the album.
It is evident that considerable thought was put into each individual instrument. On any given song you are bound to hear a catchy guitar rift, an interesting drum section, or even an unexpected bass line. Instead of simply acting as an accompaniment to Williams’ vocals, the dynamic instrumental parts give life to the music.
Though the lyrics and vocals are strong, I would have liked to see Paramore’s backup singer Josh Farro utilized a little more.
“Brand New Eyes” has fast songs, slow songs and songs in between. While a few songs touch on the subject of love, friendship is the prevailing subject. Williams is honest when describing the isolation she felt from her friends and fellow band members during their rough times. Though the band almost broke up, Paramore’s members recognize that they are a closer band and better people for going through the struggles they did.
In “Looking Up,” Williams says, “I can’t believe we almost hung it up,” before singing “We’re just getting started!” Judging by both the energy in the audience and on stage Tuesday night at the Fox Theater, I’m taking her word for it.