Nobody may have suspected it, but the young (and not immensely sizable) lead singer and songstress, Hayley Williams, of “Paramore”, currently fills some very big shoes.
The originally Tennessee-based, now LA-based, band has an unparalleled range in repertoire, from elementary ballads, to immense rock-orchestral
compositions spanning the spectrum of all possible intricacy and genius – a band Kurt Cobain would have regarded as possessing that rarest but most sought-after of traits: raw girl power.
Though there is only one feminine element of which to speak, literally, in the group, the raw masculinity of the chord progressions are not encountered by Williams’s breadth and depth of vocal range, from lilting lullaby-esque dreaminess to hardcore, visceral, even Visigoth battle cries, harking back to Cobain’s signature roar which expressed the inexpressible sadness and repression of a youth culture barraged by the pseudo intellects and bureaucratic limitations of the Baby Boomer generation. Though both Cobain and Williams missed out on speaking for or against any war efforts by a hair’s breadth of timing, their expression of eternal rebelliousness in the face of unjust restraints disguised as stream-of-consciousness poetic renditions remains unmistakable in the wake of such artists as Lennon and Dylan and their decoding reinterpretations for the masses.
Take the songs “Ignorance” and “Monster”. There are few pop songs in the modern catalogue which seem to eerily echo sentiments of fury, anguish, and the irrevocable as a battle cry in the face of corporate marketing polish as Cobain’s genius did in deconstructing the pop rock album with the most slithery of punk-anthemic compositions – on a record which sounded like the Beatles had reinvented themselves with a taste for distortion pedals and tympanic reverberation (“Lithium” could well be a latter-day McCartney song, if he were so inclined towards such metallic tastes).
People may quickly class Paramore away as a subcultural and/or “emo” penchant, but they remain ignorant of the relative lack of comparable talent in the deluge that is modern college rock radio. Few songs can bring one to tears, but take a listen to “All I Wanted”, “Renegade”, or “(One of Those) Crazy Girls” to sense a Rachmaninoff counterpoint emotionally-influencing counterpart to Cobain’s religiosity of reverence for today’s shattered youth.
Not merely that, but it is highly recommended that you add to your CD or vinyl collection their latest self-titled epic, which I give five out of five stars (not merely for its motif of lilting reminiscence for Cobain’s personal fave composition, the watery “Drain You”) if you want to hear one of the most mind-blowing anthemic conquests of the radio waves ever launched – and find yourself a new (if not already well-versed) Paramore fan; particularly for the starry ballad “Hate to See Your Heart Break”, among others, which show their evolution from film soundtracks to the soundtrack of our very lives – something that rarely to never happens, already signifying them as a gem among the vast and barren sands.
If you would ever suggest that someone could hold a candle to Lennon, Cobain, or Dylan in today’s age, be prepared to be honest with yourself and those to whom you are eternally obliged – your fellow man (and fan) – and shout that Williams lights an eternal torch in remembrance and steady continuation of the impassioned outcry that was the war song of those countless harnessing the raw untapped power of the genius within us all for recognizing the genius in others; after all, as the great Schopenhauer himself – an ardent music aficionado – once said: “Intellect is invisible to the man who has none.”
I’m glad we can see clearly now – that the rain is gone – here in sunny California.
About the Author: Nolan Aljaddou is an alumnus of the University of Nebraska Omaha, and has authored a book and several papers on physics. He started playing guitar at the age of 12 and writes extensively on Psychology, Mathematics, Physics, Philosophy and of course, Music.