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New Music Thursday: Brand New Eyes

October 1, 2009

Last year, my friend Shena introduced me to imeem, a music sharing website that entertained me while I wrote numerous casenotes in the Marriage and Family Therapy. Imeem is like other free music websites, such as Grooveshark and Pandora, but a bit more complex. For one thing, it has a social media outlet that members can update blogs and personal profiles to; I’ve yet to come across a music sharing website (other than myspace, which has only recently morphed into a music sharing site) with this feature. My favorite part of imeem is “New Music Tuesday”, where new albums are released for members to listen to before buying. I’ve found that imeem specializes in indie rock and hip-hop, although they’ve received the rights to big-name bands that have released albums in the last year; I’ve listened to new releases by U2, Gavin DeGraw, and Dave Matthews on imeem. I’ve also been introduced to a lot of neat indie artists, such as David Gray (he’s indie-ish), Joshua James, and Stars of Track and Field–that’s just in the last two weeks.

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This week, I waited with anticipation for the new Paramore album, Brand New Eyes. Yes, I know that Hayley Williams (the lead singer) is a spunky, orange-haired 20-year-old whose first two albums have been filled with hyper melodies and emo-driven lyrics about high school experiences. 25-year-old former music majors are supposed to have more sophisticated tastes than high school punk bands who have written the same style song (verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus) 20 different ways. Blah blah blah.

In my opinion, Riot! was the best rock album to come out in 2007. I’ve listened to it at least two dozen times, and at one point or another, every song on the album has been in my head. There’s an amazing variety on the CD, from the groovy, musically tight instrumental introlude to For a Pessimist… to Hayley’s incredible vocals in Hallelujah to the band’s simple, yet profound thoughts on spirituality in We are Broken. And that’s not including the tracks that radio producers thoughts were incredible enough to play on radio stations. (There are three on the album.) On a scale of 1-10, I would give Riot! an 11.

So perhaps my expectations of Brand New Eyes were a bit unrealistic. The music isn’t as musically catchy, although that’s not an entirely bad thing. In fact, the band diversifies and experiments with new sounds. They still have the familiar “Paramore sound” in the first two tracks and Where the Lines Overlap, but they experiment with different sounds in the electric guitars (Brick by Boring Brick) and rhythm guitars (The Only Exception) and a song backed by acoustic guitar and jazzier vocals (Misguided Ghosts), which Hayley Williams presents appropriately. (Hooray vocal diversity! The sign of a maturing singer.) Paramore’s drummer, Zac Farro, has some incredible rhythms throughout the CD–more complex than their first two albums.

There’s been a lot said about whether or not Paramore is a Christian band. Regardless, there are some really interesting comments about the church and faith on the CD that I think will resonate with the experiences of other 20-something Christians. Other lyrical themes include finding the band’s identity in the midst of conflict within band members.

So there you have it. I have a feeling that this album will grow on me the more I listen to it. Amazon’s got it on sale for $4. And every Thursday, I’ll feature a brand new CD (generally one that imeem introduces me to). Blessings!

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