Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Should I be embarrassed for liking this band? Am I bleeding street cred even as I write this post? I honestly don't know. And I really shouldn't care.

(I do, a little bit.)

I'm a little late to this whole Paramore thing, and for all I know, it could be all downhill for them from here. Pop punk bands have a way of not sticking around very long, especially when they get big so young only to flame out just as quickly. Paramore also seems to have signed a pretty ridiculous deal with their record label - any time the record industry hails a deal as being good for business, you know they mean their business... not the artist's.

But they only just started playing them on my local K-Rock, which is what I listen to on the way to the train station in the morning. It's about the only regular outside source of new music I have these days.

Paramore's fans seem to be made up of mostly 12 year old girls. I have a habit lately of getting into bands like this, and it's starting to make me wonder. What kind of music are thirtysomething guys supposed to listen to? I mean I like Nirvana, I like the Foo Fighters, I like the Ramones, I like all those testosterone-driven bands from the 70's through the 90's, when I was growing up. I used to care about stuff like how "real" a band was too. I was pretty militant. Nowadays, I don't even know what "real" means or why it should matter, if the music's good.

And sometimes, I confess I feel like Jerry Seinfeld when he said, "I can't listen to a man sing a song..." In rock music, at least, the male voice is imprecise and brusk. When was the last time you listened to a male-fronted band and said, "I just love his voice"? To paraphrase another quote from Seinfeld, the male voice is utilitarian, it's for gettin' around, it's like a Jeep. Not to say various male vocalists don't fit their bands' style perfectly - Dave Grohl is still my idol - but I can listen to women sing just to hear them sing. I can't do that with a guy.

Paramore's got a re-release of their second album RIOT! that just recently came out, with a DVD and a CD together that contain a butt-ton of bonus material. I just ordered one myself; Amazon's got it for $14.99.

Everybody under the age of 15 has probably seen this a million times, but it was new to me a couple days ago (no, I don't watch much MTV anymore), and I love it:

Paramore - Misery Business
Uploaded by migite

Whatever happens to Paramore in the future, Hayley Williams is a fucking rock star.

UPDATE: MVI DVD received! And I'm honestly happy to hear that "Misery Business" is actually one of the weaker songs on the album. They really rock, and they're no lightweights. This is not straight-ahead pop music, for the most part - there's some real depth in both the performance and the songwriting. I mean they're no Pink Floyd or anything, but there's definitely more here than I would have expected. Most of their songs are not nearly as radio friendly as a lot of modern "emo" bands, though they still have some ridiculously catchy hooks to them. But when Hayley's singing stuff like "This is how we'll stand when they burn our houses down... this is what will be, oh glory", it's pretty obvious this is not just a cheesy pop band singing about bitchy teenage girls.

I've read a lot about them in the past week or two - seems like they take a lot of flak for pretty bullshit reasons. One article I read gave them a back-handed compliment for being "non-threatening", as in "parents don't mind their kids listening to Paramore because they are" - like that's a bad thing. Ignoring the vaguely misogynistic implication of that critique, what is wrong with this country that we think everything needs to be "threatening" to be taken seriously? I think if we figure that out, we'll get to the root of a lot of this country's problems. There's nothing wrong with bands that just want to be fun.

Paramore are definitely young, and they sound it. Even the title of their latest album, "Riot!", is a little trite. Their music and lyrics will mature even further as they get older, assuming they stay together. But I haven't heard this much raw talent in years, throughout the entire band. They're starting out from a point way beyond where most bands end up. I can't wait to hear what they've got in store through the next decade.


  1. Yes, you should be embarrassed about liking Paramore. A little bit, at least! But I can't criticize or judge cause I suck. I'm going to see HIM tomorrow. That's the Finnish band, not some weird reference to God. I used to be embarrassed about enjoying HIM, but I got over it and embraced my lameness. It's nice that you are embracing yours, too!

  2. Anonymous3:20 AM

    I'm must say that I like it to (I'm 25). there isn't so many rock girls, so I'm really glad to hear some rock music whit a female voice.

    Plus who cares what other think about you? You like it, you listen to it.

  3. Anonymous5:36 AM

    Yes, she is cute.

    However, her voice, while powerful, isn't especially remarkable. Furthermore, she's using this emo/punk-pop vocal style that all the boys use. I'd rather she be either grittier or sweeter or, I don't know.

    The music and songwriting is equally forgettable.

    You were on the right track with Kaera Kimura. Kaera has some decent songwriters working for her and a bit of variety. Discovering Kaera is far more valuable to me than this Paramore.

    Once you pass 30, you are wasting your time to accept guilt about any pleasures - the onus to be cool is no longer upon you.

  4. Wow, 3 comments on a post in one day. Must be some kind of record for me since my post on Rockstar Games :)

    I probably should have clarified in the post (and I probably still will) that the main reason I ended up actually buying the album was that I wanted to show some support to a band that's willing to put actual mp3's on their CD. At least, that's what the Amazon page says is on there - I hope they weren't using the term "mp3" generically. More bands need to do this, and more record labels need to be made willing to do it.

    I do really like her voice, though, but I admit I haven't actually heard many of their songs. Could still end up being a one-hit wonder for me. Hayley's definitely star material, though, whether in this band or another one or solo. She's gonna be big for a long time. The girl is only 18, she's already beyond where most performers end up and she's only going to get better.

    My wife was making fun of me a little bit because she says this is only a step removed from Avril Lavigne (Kimura Kaela is too), but somehow I have a feeling Hayley at least knows how to pronounce "David Bowie"...

  5. Anonymous5:27 PM

    What is wrong whit Avril Lavigne? She have some god songs.

    You people spend to much time wondering what other think, that you can just enjoy good songs.

    Who cares if someone can spell, write, o remember their name? Is the song good? Grate: listen to it.

    Of course this is my opinion :)

  6. Anonymous5:29 PM

    I meant - can't


  7. "Who cares if someone can spell, write, o remember their name?"

    Well, all of those things are pretty important in my line of work...

  8. Jeff: I ment about the artist that create stuff. not about you and your work.

  9. Anonymous6:15 PM

    Good music is good music. Don't be embrassed. They have more talent than most teenage bands out there.

    And I just wanted to comment on another comment made here. Not that I am defending Paramore, but I think that their music and lyrics are not forgetable. If they were forgetable, I wouldn't have them stuck in my head all the time or for that, anyones head. Not that it is the most amazing songwriting, but it is pretty catchy.

    One last thing is, not to be mean or anything, but a lot of their fans are older that 15. The only reason it seems like there is is because the single was played on MTV like crazy, but a lot of their fans are from "All We Know is Falling" their first record. And trust me, from what I've seen, the older fans hate the "teeny bopper" fans that they have gained.


About This Blog

This is increasingly not a blog about Alphabet City, New York. I used to live in the East Village and work on Avenue B, but I no longer do. Why don't I change the name if I'm writing about Japan and video games and guitars? Because New Yorkers are well-rounded people with varied interests, and mine have gone increasingly off the rails over the years. And I don't feel like changing the name. I do still write about New York City sometimes.


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