Paramore’s “Brand New Eyes” The “New Moon OST” & Gin’s “Holy Smoke”

Hayley Williams

Brand New Eyes

Paramore – Brand New Eyes

Even though the kids in Paramore are only 20, it feels like they’ve already come a long way. Being part of a genre which has arguably passed it’s peak can be tough, but Paramore have showed that they can adapt to changes. On Brand New Eyes, it’s all about singer Hayley Williams. Despite the praise that John Mayer has given her (he called her “the great orange hope”), it’s pleasing to know that it goes a little deeper than that. In what seems like a mostly male dominated scene, Williams gives us a unique perspective on everything. Behind the flaming red hair, white jeans, and rockstar shtick, we get songs about fighting for love (Looking Up), heartache (All I Wanted), and not really giving a shit (Feeling Sorry). Instead of giving the emo (can I still call them that) boys something to relate to, they instead get someone to pine over.

I’m just hoping that she keeps with it. The rest of the band, do a fantastic job of providing the backdrop, but it’s Williams that remains the most memorable aspect of Brand New Eyes long after it’s over. Even though she’s still young, her laments on relationships are the finest moments on the album. I can’t wait until she starts singing about sex.

Elsewhere, there’s nice moments that pop up all over the record. Of course there are the obligatory slow/soft songs that get strategically placed in the middle and at the end of the album but it only helps the flow of the album. One of the best moments of Brand New Eyes comes in the form of Brick By Boring Brick. The song itself is great, and will no doubt be a successful single, but there’s this moment in the last 30 seconds of the song where there is this sort of sing-a-long which stands out more than anything else. It’d kill live, and it probably could’ve been used more prominently but that’s the great thing about it. There are little moments to uncover all throughout the record, just make sure you don’t miss any of them.

Death Cab For Cutie

New Moon

Various Artists
The Twilight Saga: New Moon OST

It’s always tough reviewing soundtracks since you can never truly focus on the aspects that you can with an album. But this is New Moon we’re talking here, a franchise so huge right at this very moment that it seems like there isn’t anything else that matters. It started with books before making it’s way into multi-million dollars movie profits and now the music industry is cashing in on it too.

The strangest part or maybe the most important part is who is on here. Death Cab For Cutie, Bon Iver & St. Vincent, Thom Yorke, Lykke Li and much more. Apart from the inclusion of Thom Yorke and say, The Killers, most of these artists would have never received this sort of exposure. It carries on in the tradition of getting really good musicians to soundtrack potentially huge movies and television shows. Death Cab were milking this whole thing years back when The O.C’s Seth Cohen had a poster of Transatlanticism on his wall and The Walkmen and Death Cab were making appearances on the show as well. Sonic Youth also recently played on Gossip Girl, which is insane when you think about it but then it makes perfect sense. It gives it that cool edge. It’s like wearing Chuck Taylors with a suit or when hot girls wear t-shirts with bands they’ve never heard of on them. It’s barely about the music because when there are relationships involved everyone needs a soundtrack.

So in essence, there’s barely any point in actually discussing the album in too much depth. Most of the songs on here are solemn, unobtrusive tracks that I guess highlight the mood of the movie. In other words, they’re boring. Despite that, there are some nice highlights littered throughout the album. Included is a new Thom Yorke song Hearing Damage, as well as a brand new Lykke Li track, Possibility. Later on in the album Grizzly Bear team up with Victoria LeGrand for Slow Life, one of the most slowburning peaks of the entire album.

Overall, the album has its inconsistencies. It dips and dives but also it also peaks at various points. But like I said, this isn’t about the music. It’s about Edward and Bella, and everyone else.

Gin Wigmore

Holy Smoke

Gin – Holy Smoke

There are debatable moments scattered throughout Gin’s debut album Holy Smoke. The album tends to sway between really strong moments and coming off as completely cheesy. It’s hard to define but it’s definitely there. I Do isn’t necessarily the pinnacle of the album but it could perhaps be the most interesting song. The song itself is sort of cute but whenever I hear it I’m not sure whether to cry or cringe. On the one hand there is this really simple lush production with these beautifully hushed backing vocals but on the other hand it reminds me of Jason Mraz’ I’m Yours, a song which had more than it’s fair share of airplay when it hit number one late last year. You’ll know what I mean, if you’ve heard it. I Do is definitely one of the most subdued moments on Holy Smoke and at times it becomes one of the highlights of album without really being unique at all.

But that’s not to say the album isn’t good. It’s a solid effort from one of our best new artists. Hey Ho sounds like The Cardinals (Ryan Adams former backing band) and Gin at their best. Especially with all those perfect little vocals that make her so unique. There’s great moments too, like the way she says “and don’t you touch me there” or the heavily whispered “whoo whoo’s” right at the end of the song.

Elsewhere, Mr. Freakshow gives The Cardinals a chance to have a bit of fun by adding a little distortion into the mix much like some of the funner moments from Ryan Adams’ Easy Tiger (i.e Halloween). The next single Too Late For Lovers is an obvious choice for a hit but I’m in doubt that it’ll do as well as Oh My did commercially. I’m more than happy to be wrong though.

At only 10 tracks the albums feels like a fleeting moment but fortunately it leaves little room for filler. There’s plenty of singles to choose from – almost every track has an infectiousness to it that is hard to throw. Instead we get a solid look at an artist that is bound to go a lot further, and that can only be a good thing.

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