Brand New Eyes

An Album By


Review by

Listen now

If the precocious Hayley Williams spends a lot of Brand New Eyes correcting bad behavior in others (“You treat me just like another stranger”), she enlightens with “Ignorance,” and then points out, “Next time you point a finger / I’ll point you to a mirror” on “Playing God.” All of this anger seems to be directed at some immature boy in Williams’ life; at least until we get to “Looking Up,” the eighth track. This pivotal song describes the near break-up of Paramore, an event that obviously still troubles Williams. “I can’t believe we almost hung it up,” she confesses. “Confessional,” however, is not a word that describes Williams much of the time. Yet confessional is the only word that fits “The Only Exception,” with its lyrical ode to rare love in a mostly loveless world. Exceptional love, the kind she never saw her parents share with each other, has suddenly and surprisingly found its way into Williams’ world. “Spiritual” is another word that rarely applies to songs on Brand New Eyes. In fact, “Careful,” oddly paraphrases Jesus with these words: “The truth never set me free/So I’ll do it myself.” The one clear place where the Christian life is alluded to is “Turn It Off.” The lyric, “I’m better off when I hit the bottom,” relays one of those end-of-her-rope moments, where only God can ease the pain. Musically, producer Rob Cavallo (who’s worked with Green Day, among others) gives Brand New Eyes a crisp, clear sound. For some reason, tracks like “Ignorance” bring to mind ’80s era Billy Idol. But the more I think about it, the more that analogy makes sense, because Idol made a similar transition from angry punker to angry mainstream rocker during that timeframe. And as good as Brand New Eyes can be, just wait until Hayley Williams begins to venture beyond her insular personal realm, and starts to see the wider world around her. That’ll be the true eye-opener.


Pantokrator 2021

Marching Onward

After being together for a quarter of a century, they've been called Illuminati, fundamentalists, and even fascists. Now, with their first new album in seven years, 'Marching Out of Babylon,' they're honed in more than ever, a steadfast and evolved version of themselves. Andrew Voigt digs a little deeper into the Swedish band's roots, uncovers the narratives on the new release, and finds out how a little playground spat brought the band together.


Photo by Rebecka Gustafsson

Full Feature
The Drowned God 2021

Drowning The Sound

Andrew Voigt, a contributing writer to HM Magazine, sat down with Cody Golob, the lead vocalist and one of the original two members of The Drowned God, to discuss their as-yet-unnamed upcoming record, the inspiration behind its writing, and a mutual love for sparkling water.


Full Feature
Brian "Head" Welch

Love and Death and Resurrection

After an eight year hiatus, Love and Death return with 'Perfectly Preserved,' an eclectic and personal release for nu-metal icon and frontman Brian 'Head' Welch. Still at the heart of it all, the man with the dreads details his life in the spotlight after returning to Korn, the launch of a holistic recovery center, and his spearheading of an autobiographical documentary. As fresh as he's ever been at 50 years old, he's still got more to give.


Full Feature
All Features