So, Paramore, then. There’s an itch they scratch. That’s kinda putting it lightly. I don’t listen to bands like Paramore. Except Paramore. Probably because I know none of them will do that thing to me in the way Paramore do.
Maybe it’s Williams’ voice. I still cannot believe she was a little teenager when All We Know Is Falling hit in 2005. Seriously. She’ll have been a proper teenager when that came out. I know that because she’s the same age as me. Like, to the day. Maybe that’s the connection, right there.
But her voice… it is just remarkable. Seductive, soulful, yet angry and filled with a sort of bursting passion – and utterly faultless, absolutely note-perfect. Her accent is beyond beautiful too. Shivers-down-spine material. But it’s not that. That’s not why I love Paramore.
The thing that completely stuns me about this band is that they’ve managed to get progressively more exceptional with each record. And I do mean “exceptional”, too, as they’ve gone from being a decent, edgy pop-punk-emo outfit with a load of potential, and moved progressively towards the mainstream, yet with that move totally forming something that is absolutely their own sound. They are, to pinch a lyric, the only exception.
All We Know Is Falling is good. It’s grimy. It’s bloody terribly produced. The playing is sloppy. The songwriting’s not exactly inspired; the teenage Williams kinda carries it. But, y’know, there’s something there. RIOT! is a better record. Much better. It is absolutely justified that Misery Business really propelled them into the limelight. It’s a wonderful angry-teen pop song, far better than… well, pretty much fucking everything else in that vein. It came on in The Cockpit last time I was there, several double-whiskies down, about 1am or something… and it just became everything. The majority of the room seemed to agree. My voice the next day hurt from screaming the chorus. My friend kinda looked a bit nonplussed.
But brand new eyes (yeah, I don’t like the typography, either)… it’s just remarkable.
Paramore’s third album doesn’t do the whole “deviate away from the norm” thing that so many artists try to do. It’s a third album which refines rather than reinvents. And honestly, it’s just brilliant. There are tracks that don’t really work. It’s the slowies, generally – those that hark back to their earlier days of not having quite found what they excelled at. We’re talking the last two tracks, mainly – All I Wanted and Decode (the latter of which was on the Twighlight soundtrack, but which I remember Mat Kumar showin a lot of love for). But they’re still good tracks. They’re just not what makes Paramore so remarkable. What makes them remarkable is their perfect control over melody, and now of rhythm, and of structure, and of everything.
I’ve just spent a while on Twitter complaining about something one song – Where The Lines Overlap – doesn’t do, but that’s only because of how good it is in the first place. Its middle-eight screams out to go on longer. Lyrically and musically, it’s so close to utter perfection. The heavy descends into quiet, and Williams muses, “Y’know, I’ve got a feeling, if I sang this loud enough, you would sing it back to me…” — the drums build up, the muted guitars chugging back in — “I’ve got a feeling, if I sang this loud enough, you would sing it back to me…”
…And then… it doesn’t quite go there. Listen to it. I’m sure I can’t be the only one who’s absolutely desperate for something else. When those guitars and drums kick back in, in a glorious half-time, they really should be giving me a chance to sing it back to them. Instead, that lyric drops off — “I’ve got a feeling, I’ve got a feeling… that you would sing it back to me” — and what it totally should do is keep going, while that new lyric kicks in as well, and we’d have the most glorious of dual-vocalled singalong madness, and…
…Yet I’m pretty sure they know. They know, and they’re not doing it, and they’re teasing with that brilliance. People often turn their nose up at me when I list Paramore among my favourite bands of the moment, but really, I wish they’d just listen to this latest album a few times and let themselves feel what they’re managing to do with this perfect pop. And it is perfect – or, as near as will ever count.
I love it. You probably should too.