There was probably a time when I would’ve had a hard time admitting just how much I like this album. That time is in the past, and Brand New Eyes is a great record, finding Paramore more mature, better songwriters, and frontman Williams an increasingly formidable force. It stands as by far my favorite Paramore record, and I think the band was at the top of their game for its majority. It’s a shame it was the last to feature the original line-up, but it marks the finest chapter in the band’s career, even if what followed was an uncertain future. It’s great to see Paramore succeeding in 2017 with the hugely successful After Laughter, but it seems important when considering that record to consider this one also. Brand New Eyes is a record that is consistently great, and there isn’t really a dud track on here. From the offset, it comes out swinging, and then delivers hit after hit. It solidified Paramore as the most essential emo-pop band of that period, capable of delivering catchy, hook-filled songs with huge lyrical heart. It knows that it’s a good record, carrying a swagger dashed in self-confidence – partly due to William’s magnetism as a frontwoman. She kills it on this record.
Released: 2009 Label: Fuelled By Ramen
Variant: 1st press /NA Purchased from: srcvinyl
As a collection of songs, Brand New Eyes is the best thing Paramore have ever done, and may ever do. It’s razor-sharp lyrically and instrumentally strong, polished with slick production and drizzled with sugar-sweet charm. It’s an infectious listen, ridiculously catchy, and it says a great deal about the album that I still remember every word, even though I haven’t listened to it consistently for a number of years now. Paramore’s third record has rooted itself in my memory, and it’s highly unlikely that it’ll be displaced anytime soon. Listening to it as I write this, it still hits all of the right notes – Brick By Boring Brick just as cinematic as it always was, while Turn It Off still delivers one of the best choruses the band has ever put to record. Elsewhere, closer All I Wanted sounds suitably huge, while the stripped back The Only Exception is a delightfully poignant addition. Brand New Eyes doesn’t really do anything wrong, one of those rare records on which everything seems to fall neatly into place. It was a coming-of-age record for a band who came to fruition in the spotlight, and it showcased a different side to the band, who had transitioned from pop-punk upstarts to genre-bests almost overnight. If it was created during turbulent time behind the scenes, Brand New Eyes is gloriously triumphant. I’m cool with admitting that.