Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.
Okay, I'll just get this out of the way; I have a serious love hate relationship with paramore. When they first showed up on the scene back in 2005 I championed them and their astonishingly strong debut effort 'All We Know Is Falling' to anyone and everyone who'd listen.
It was a stunning mix of memorable hooks, slick rock production with the delicacy and vulnerability of emo, without being overly melancholy. At times it seemed a tad whiny, but with singles like 'Emergency' and 'Pressure' that was easily forgiven.
Imagine my delight when 'Misery Business' appeared!
It seemed as if Paramore had grown too big and exciting for the walls of their emo-pop cage to hold them any longer, and on the back of an album called 'Riot!', I was sure we were in for an edgier, more exhilarating Paramore than we'd seen before.
As superb as 'Misery Business' was however, 'Riot!' was a disappointment to anyone with a brain cell. It was by no means a bad album, it was just...boring. There wasn't a track on the record that was as interesting as 'Misery Business' and whats more, after taking huge strides forward towards a more mature, fuller and ultimately more impressive sound, they retreated back into their emo-pop cage for the remainder of the album. To this day I still haven't figured out why. And I think about it every day.
So where does that leave 'Brand New Eyes'?
Well unfortunately, it seems as if Paramore have retreated even further into themselves, losing all edge and believability in the process. There isn't a single song on this album that I could remember after listening to it. No soaring Hayley Williams vocal melodies and none of the trademark 'farro' hooks that made 'Pressure', 'Emergency' and 'Misery Business' what they were. Being perfectly honest, 'Brand New Eyes' feels like a collection of b-sides that were rejected during the recording of 'Riot!'. There's no growth to be heard here, there's no evolution and when all is said and done there's just nothing to get excited about. With 'Brand New Eyes', Paramore have basically proven that they have run out of ideas and are now seemingly intent on rehashing their initial idea over and over again until all the charm it brought with it first time round has been all but worn away.
It's unfortunate really. Paramore are capable of really shining at times and that's not something that new listeners will pick up from 'Brand New Eyes'. If you're an absolute die-hard fan there's nothing here that will turn you off them, but that's about the highest compliment I can pay them this time round.
Oh, and 'Decode' is, was and always will be the worst thing they've ever recorded.
TL;DR: If you've got to have this record, download it. A lull in sales might coax Paramore into growing their 'Misery Business' balls back.