Snap Judgment: Paramore's 'Ignorance'
I'm already on record as being pretty excited for Paramore's "brand new eyes," the capitalization-challenged new album from the Tennessee quintet. My first pass at hearing a draft of the first single, "Ignorance," in producer Rob Cavallo's house a few months ago revealed the foundation of a whiplash emo single from a time (the '90s) when the word meant something more than misogynist caterwauling. The finished product, which hit the interwebs today, has hints of Sunny Day Real Estate's washed-out but insistent guitars, the breakneck rhythms of D.C. vets Q and Not U and an ambitiously brooding backing harmony arrangement from singer Hayley Williams.
The song's pretty vicious, a post-breakup knife in the back from Williams to an especially chilly fellow. You kids can certainly debate the specifics regarding its target, but the track's edge comes from a precision-tuned band making music about how hard it was to be in the same room with each other. Paramore had a much-publicized rough go of it toward the end of their last tour due to interpersonal conflicts, and while they’ve since recovered, much of “brand new eyes” is about that time, and that fact lends a very flinty quality to the record. It makes the lyrics and darker sonic textures all the more intriguing.
Williams is all Southern charm to talk to in person, but on record she's better when she's mean -- another song, "Misery Business," is a brutal bit of schoolyard hair-pulling. "Ignorance" ups that quota considerably, to the band's benefit.
Also keep an eye out for "The Only Exception," a dappled track of psych-folk that should prove this record has legs for the long haul. But in the meantime, if you plan on ditching (or being ditched by) a significant other this summer, Paramore has your poison pen ready.
-- August Brown
Photo by Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times