National Public Viking

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Yes, I *Heart* Paramore

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I very well realize that we're well past the period when today's up-and-coming bands are more familiar with "The Middle"-era Jimmy Eat World and Dashboard Confessional than the earlier stalwarts of the heavily pop-flecked punk/emo of my high school years. Bands like Mineral, Jawbreaker and Braid are all but nostalgic memories for the 23-27 year-old age group, which is just a sign that this now-casual music critic (yet still full-time nerd) is getting older. (Imagine how original Rites of Spring fans must feel.)

Imagine my surprise, then, that I'd fall for a band that -- just a year ago -- features a lead singer who just got her driver's license. Now, I'm not becoming a J. Edward Keyes here. I haven't quite hit the odd mainstream pop fetish most late 20s rock crits attain (usually out of boredom), but there is something about Paramore I can't deny.

Yes, Paramore. The "Christians in a band" pop-punk wunderkids that sound something like a mix of every artist that churns major gag reflexes: Avril Lavigne, Fall Out Boy, and just about every overly-energetic and cartoonishly-styled pop-punk band of the last four years.

I should have known this would happen. Every now and again, I like to pull out Designing a Nervous Breakdown by The Anniversary or that My Spacecoaster CD with the awful "Hamburgers" song, because they were very formative. These CDs were just as sappy and trite as the pop music on the radio, just cooler (?). So I hear this very young band Paramore pulling a lot of the same hooks, but better, and unafraid to release a well-manicured, very-compressed pop album (perhaps at the behest of the label, but it works in the band's favor). Then there's Hayley Williams with a voice that every faux-effeminate pop-punk frontman wishes he had. It's bright and biting, like if Kelly Clarkson actually made My December the rock album she wanted it to be.

I have to say, though, the mental picture of me at a Warped Tour concert watching Paramore with a bunch of Jnco-wearing (the kids still wear Jnco, right?) 14 year-old punks is hilarious. I almost want to do it.


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