Paramore’s self-titled fourth album is a strong follow up to the band’s third release “Brand New Eyes”. The band’s sound has changed a bit. Not surprising, since the band’s members have changed. Instead of a straight pop-punk sound, elements of electronic rock, retro new wave, and indie pop have been incorporated into their usual sound. I do miss the band’s old sound a bit. Hayley’s irresistible attitude is less present and the youthful rebellion has weaned. But bands, especially pop-punk bands, have to grow up.And their new sound works well, and they haven’t shed most of the things we’ve come to love about the band. The guitar riffs and percussion pack a punch, Hayley’s voice is still awesome, and often the songs are catchy and have great energy.
The lyrical content isn’t as strong as their last album though. The production of this album is their strongest, but the songwriting is a step down. “Brand New Eyes” has many reflective lyrics, but they are lacking on this album.
The opener, “Fast In My Car”, is a power-pop number the echoes girl-led 80s new wave bands. ”Now”, the first single, is a edgy number that wouldn’t be out of place on their last album. “Part II” is one of a few tracks where get experimental. ”Still Into You” is another power-pop number. “Anklebiters” is straight, unpolished pop-punk. “Hate To See Your Heart Break” is one of few ballads on the album. Like a few other tracks, it has an obvious influence of indie singer-songwriter Ingrid Michelson.
“The Best Damn Thing”, Avril Lavigne’s third album, is one of the best pop-rock albums of 2007. It’s short and sweet, at 12 tracks and 40 minutes. The album is irresistible from start to finish. The tunes are always lighthearted and mostly peppy. Avril’s usual feisty attitude makes them even more irresistible. This album’s lighthearted nature is a contrast of the music on Lavigne’s (excellent) second album “Under My Skin”, which was dark and poetic.
Almost every track concerns young love. My favorite tracks on the album are “Girlfriend”, “I Can Do Better”, “When You’re Gone”, “Hot”, “I Don’t Have To Try”, “One Of Those Girls”, and “Keep Holding On”. “Girlfriend”, “I Can Do Better”, “I Don’t Have To Try”, and “One Of Those Girls” are among the tracks that have a ‘bubblegum punk’ sound. They are fast, simple songs packed with attitude but playful, not angry. They are as catchy as anything Britney Spears has done; as loud anything blink 182 has done. “I Can Do Better” is about not changing to meet a boyfriend’s standards. “Girlfriend” is about the desire to be the girlfriend of someone’s who’s already taken. “I Don’t Have To Try” is about ‘wearing the pants’ in the relationship, despite being a girl. “One Of Those Girls” is the story of another girl who frequently jumps from one partner to the next.
“Hot” has an upbeat power-pop sound. It shows less of Avril’s attitude and expresses the joy found from a boyfriend. “When You’re Gone” and “Keep Holding On” (from the movie Eragon) are among the few melancholy moments of the album. These are beautiful ballads that show Avril’s powerful voice and ability to pour our heartfelt emotion when needed (which she does well).
“The Best Damn Thing” is a must-hear for anybody who enjoys peppy music, or pop-rock music in general.
Green Day keep it simple on “!UNO!” - simple lyrics, simple chords. It’s sometimes sweet, sometimes angry, but unlike their last two albums, never political. “!UNO!” is one of the most energetic albums I’ve heard in a long time. The energy literally never stops. There are no ballads. Every track is fast and features heavy guitars and drums.
The album leans more to power-pop than real punk rock. If you’re looking for raw punk energy and production, you’ll be disappointed. But if you’re looking for songs that are loud, yet melodic and polished, you’ve come to the right place. And it’s above average power-pop.
Some have said that the album revives the band’s sound during the 90s or early 00s. That’s true to an extent. “!Uno!” has more in common with “Warning” than “21st Century Breakdown”. However, this album is less angsty and bratty than their earlier work. They’re acclaimed rock stars after all, not youngsters.
It is their most lighthearted album to date. The power-pop of “Oh Love” (the first single) is the most sugary sweet I’ve heard Green Day. The dance-pop-punk of “Kill The DJ” is a rare party song for the band. “Let Yourself Go”, however, is where the band shows their angry side. This track echoes the “Insomniac” era the most. “Nuclear Family” also echoes “Insomniac”. “Stay The Night” is another lighthearted power-pop track.
My favorite Green Day albums are “Dookie” and “American Idiot”. The rest of the Green Day albums are also great, and “!UNO!” ranks as good as them.