The best songs on 2007's Riot! were the ones that emphasized the pop part of Paramore's pop-punk equation. On this follow-up, the Tennessee quintet loads up on melodies, shoving aside the blurry guitar grind of a thousand whiny emo bands in favor of major hooks. Twenty-year-old frontwoman Hayley Williams comes on like a redheaded firecracker throughout Brand New Eyes, spitting lines about broken hearts and shifty friends. "Next time you point a finger, I might have to bend it back or break it off," she sings on "Playing God." And on "Turn It Off" and "Where the Lines Overlap," she leads the rest of the band to some big, glorious choruses. There are a few missteps: They turn up the volume a couple times for noisy and tuneless workouts, and the acoustic ballad "Misguided Ghosts" is a real snoozer. When Eyes meets somewhere in the middle, it sounds like Paramore, as Williams sings on "Looking Up," are just getting started. — Gallucci
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