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‘brand new eyes’ shows Paramore’s struggle and growth

October 2, 2009

On September 14th, 2006, I saw Paramore perform at the Bottleneck in Lawrence, Kansas.  Hayley Williams, lead singer, was 17 and the band was still promoting the release of their first CD “All We Know Is Falling.”  There were around 50 people at the show, and it was one of the most memorable concerts I’ve been too.

 Two years after that concert, It was almost unbearable trying to watch them perform at Warped Tour 2008.  At what I thought was the peak of their success from their sophomore album, “Riot”, it was hard to watch them without some 15 year old Hayley clone trying to kick me in the face as they attempted to crowd surf above me.

But that wasn’t the height of their success last year.  Paramore skyrocketed to ultimate fame with the their single “Decode” in the movie “Twilight.”  This completely (and almost unbelievable) success almost tore the band apart, and then helped them come back together again.  While listening to the new CD, these are things that are blantantly obvious as you listen to the lyrics.

The CD starts off with “Careful,” a song about shutting down and picking yourself back up after you’ve been depending on those around you.  “brand new eyes” then leads into “Ignorance,” the single for this release.  Hayley has been quoted in many interviews stating that this song was about the band, and it’s obvious from the lyrics.  It’s also been speculated that it’s about Hayley and Josh Farro’s past relationship.

“Yeah, we’re friends who stuck together
We wrote our names in blood
But I wish you could accept the change is good
It’s good, it’s good.” 

From there, the album transitions to the song “Playing God,” one of my favorites on this release with a softer and more mature sound.  It picks back up and slows back down again before my favorite track “The Only Exception.”  Here, you really see how the band has grown as Hayley takes you into a story about the ‘struggles’ of love and having that one and only person you really care about (or in her case, sing about.)  I think someone who has seen their parents split could really relate to this song, as it tells a story of divorce and how that person can still be ‘the only exception.’  Not only that, but how seeing a divorce firsthand can make you change your mind about finding that exception.

After a few more of signature Paramore upbeat tracks,  the song “Misguided Ghosts” seems like it would be best fit in an indie movie (something in the style of “Juno” or “Once.”)  I almost don’t recgonize Hayley’s voice as she talks about pushing away people you trust the most when you really need them.  She continues the same tone on the last track “All I Wanted,” which seems to be about a past relationship: (and again, speculated to be about her and Josh’s.)

“I could follow you to the beginning,
Just to relive the start
Maybe then we’d remember to slow down
At all our favorite parts” 

The thing I love most about “brand new eyes” is how different it is from “Riot!”  As the band is growing up and maturing, their lyrics are as well.  Taking a departure from constant upbeat songs really reminds me of “All We Know Is Falling,” and it takes me back to that time 3 years ago.

And although they may have hit rock bottom at the peak of their success, they want fans to know they’ve hugged it out and are here to stay.

Highlights: Playing God, The Only Exception

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