30 Day Musical Challenge

Here's a little something I'm going to start for fun, called the 30 day musical challenge. It's pretty self explanatory; for each day you write about a different song and by the end of the challenge, you should hopefully have a reasonably true reflection of yourself as a music fan. I've tried it in the past but never got any further than day 8 with any momentum, so I'm looking forward to giving it another go as and when I have time, Days subject to change as I decide which ones are more relevant/ don't stimulate enough discussion etc etc...

Day 01 – Your favorite song
Arctic Monkeys- When The Sun Goes Down 

So we start off this 30 day challenge with possibly the hardest question anybody could ever ask me! However, i answered something similar on formspring a while ago, so here goes…

I think a truly great song is one in which every instrument has a crucial role, where you can listen to it and seperately appreciate the bass, the drums, the guitars, the vocals… a song where you can hear the band personality and skill shine through. I for one can only truly fall in love with a song if its lyrics are something special, either something I can relate strongly to, or something that captures a moment or a scene so strongly it is like storytelling. I also think any good song should resonate throroughly with an audience when performed live, something with a fresh energy that can hype up a crowd. I also think having a favourite song is a lot to do with the memories associated with it as well as the song itself. For all of my most favourite songs, I can remember exactly where I was when I first heard the song, and how excited it made me about music. I can remember events that went on around that time, and the people that I shared my love of that band or song with. So, for all of the above reasons, I’m going to pick Arctic Monkeys “When The Sun Goes Down”. It was first song I truly fell in love with,the curiousity about this band that rose in me when I saw them on top of the pops, all awkward and embarrassed to me number one.It simply fascinated me that a group of boys so young could write so succinctly about such a difficult topic, something that they probably saw in Sheffield an awful lot.To give character to a prostitute in this way, the type of person who so often has no voice at all, is really story telling at its best, and anybody who has witnessed this song live can testify with the sheer power that arises from the pause turner makes before singing the immortal line: “He’s a scumbag dont'cha know"

Day 02 – Your favourite song lyrically
Jamie T. - St. Christopher

Ok, so we already did my favourite song of all time, and the song I’ve chosen for my favourite lyrics came very close to stealing that title also. Much like how I selected my favourite song, I based my selection for favourite lyrics on a song that has strong sentiments, something the writer clearly believes in, and n that way, resonates strongly with me. The song I have chosen is “St. Christopher” by Jamie T.
For me, the fact that this is one of Jamie’s least known songs (It was only a sticks and stones b side) is laughable, as it is definitely on his softer moments that I believe he really shows his brilliance as a songwriter. St Christopher, like many of my favourite songs, is not written purely to fit meter and rhyme, but to tell a story of lost souls, and how despite their varying issues, they all have potential for savour, due to that one special figure in their lives, naturally known as ”St. Christopher”. Upon doing some research, I found St Christopher to be the patron saint of travellers, which to me is a nice metaphor to use: everybody travels at some point in their life, whether physically, emotionally… you get my drift. It echoes the feeling that however alone you can find yourself feeling during bad times, everybody has their “St. Christopher”, a person or something that can reassure them life isn’t all bad. That sort of all encompassing sentiment is the main point of this song that makes me love it so much - it can resonate with anyone.
As he always has done, it is Jamie’s rich talent for description that brings the song to life. In particular, the phrase “Smiling at the Ceiling” evokes such an uplifting feeling in me that, as you can see, I went ahead and named this blog after it. Again, as always, he speaks for the people in the same way Arctic Monkeys do (or at least used to), without condescension but with a definite identification, for the “the west end boys in their hand me down clothes”, and the “loveable rogue”. I don’t pretend to have experienced firsthand everything he sings about, but I always appreciate his sentiments, especially when they are delivered with the pure emotion evident on the “Live At Brixton Academy” version of it, which I was lucky enough to hear second hand when a friend of mine rang me from that very concert. That phone call was a special moment, to hear the pure enjoyment the rare outing of this song gave the fans. It only affirmed for me that everybody needs a St. Christopher in their life, and without being cheesy, Jamie T. is one of mine.

Day 03 – A song that makes you happy 
The Maccabees- Precious Time

In terms of songs that make me feel happy, I could have picked basically anything off of the first Maccabees album, “Colour It In”. I first heard them in 2007, when I was 14 and becoming a real Indie fan, so this has always been a time that I really remember well. The Maccabees were one of the first proper indie bands I really fell in love with, and I listened to this album over and over, but none of the tracks as much as ”Precious Time”. I just find it sums up the whole aesthetic of The Maccabees, this endearingly romantic side they have which sets them apart from other bands. Orlando’s voice coupled with this sense of nostalgia really appealed to me, and showed a side to Indie I was completely unused to. At that point I’d only really been exposed to the lad rock side of things, the likes of Oasis and whatnot, so it was refreshing to hear this new subgenre of “Art Rock” which actually spoke about things other than just getting pissed, getting into fights and picking up girls.
This isn’t to say The Maccabees don’t talk about these things. They do, but somehow they tell their stories in a way thats so much more believable than say, The Pigeon Detectives. Everything The Maccabees do has this D.I.Y feel to it, like they put everything into it.The artwork, the videos, the lyrics: everything seems like its been done by a mate of yours on a minimal budget, but this just adds to the quirkiness.It makes me happy to see this authenticity, and also a band who aren’t afraid of wanting control over everything they do.
Precious Time in particular always puts me in a good mood.It’s sense of wistfullness reminds me of how I’ve felt at times, especially with the kind of heavy (and sometimes pretty abstract) imagery Orlando likes to use often resonating with images from my own childhood. More importantly, it reminds me why I love music so much in the first place. I’ve seen The Maccabess three times: Underage Festival, Reading Festival and at Hertfordshire Uni.Each and every time, there has been a mass singalong unlike what I see with other bands. To be part of that, to be able to dance and sing with others who you’ve never met is something amazing- its a bizarre, unspeakable sort of connection.During Precious Time, I have felt this each and every time I’ve seen this band.Anyone who’s heard it will now the song really comes alive around the 3 minute mark: everything after this inspires such crowd movement live.This was an incredibly vivid moment for me at Reading Festival- throwing caution to the wind and going absolutely mental in the moshpit for those last two minutes, not caring at all about the consequences as long as Felix is still going insane with his guitar up on that stage.I guess you’d need to see it to really appreciate what I’m talking about here, but its this sort of blissful abandon  and opportunity for escapism which will always ensure that The Maccabees have a special place in my heart.

Day 04 – A song that makes you sad
Biffy Clyro- Machines

For one reason or another, almost all of my very favourite songs or bands are pretty depressing. I’m not sure what that says about me as a person, but I find there’s something actually rather cathartic about listening to sad songs. I suppose it can be said that great pain makes great art.One band that I feel are really very skilled in terms of channeling sad emotions into great songs is Biffy Clyro. As a band, they’ve had a pretty steady output of records since the late 90’s, but they really rose to prominence and captured my full attention in 2007 when they released “Puzzle”. I had previously thought of them as a purely rock band, and quite a heavy one at that, but “Puzzle”, and in particular the song “Machines”, proved there was more to them than I initially thought.
I mentioned previously that great pain makes great art, and the making of this album was certainly an upsetting time. The whole album is themed around the death of Simon Neil’s (the Lead Singer’s) mother, and although this is obviously a very personal thing for him to write about, he writes in such a way that his lyrics could resonate with anybody who has experienced loss on any sort of level. “Machines” is the song that I feel is the softest of these moments.With the anger that he expresses throughout the rest of album stripped back to just Simon’s voice and an acoustic guitar, the poignancy of his grief and his desperation becomes even more evident.I often find that in emotional rock music, the writer will often go out of their way to be as literary and metaphorical as possible, which can often overshadow the meaning. The bleak simplicity of Neil’s lyrics is what makes “Machines” so heartbreaking: “I’ve started falling apart,I’m not savouring life,I’ve forgotten how good it can be to feel alive” is such a depressing yet remarkably relatable sentiment.Everybody has had some point in their life where they feel everything is going wrong, and to hear these kinds of words laid so bare by someone other than yourself can sometimes be enough to make you realise that things will be OK.
Machines is without doubt a sad song, but there are elements of hope in the lyrics. “Take the pieces and build them skywards” seems to almost be a mission statement against misery:when one is sad, they must attempt to rebuild their belief in life and carry on. I think this is an interesting message that can be applied to most aspects of life , and is certainly something I try to live by.I don’t think theres anything unhealthy about sadness: its an emotion as human as any, but must be seen as a transisitve state more than a permanent one.Songs such as “Machines” are examples of the beauty that can come from despair, and without it, I wouldn’t have many of my favourite songs.

Day 05 – A song that reminds you of someone 
Gorillaz - On Melancholy Hill

I am very lucky to have many friends who like the same music as me, and therefore I’ve shared plenty of musical experiences with others. However, like everyone, I have some friends who are closer than others, and what with music being such a huge part of my life,it is imperative that my “best” friends also have a love of music similar to my own.With these people I share discoveries of new music, mixtapes, concerts, shared cds…the list is endless. But no friend of mine has been as crucial in my musical journey as my best male friend, Charlie Mizen.
If I remember rightly, I met Charlie in year 10 graphics, and were quickly brought together by a love of music and a depressive nature. Both indie fans, we found we had a lot in common, and over the years, have convinced each other to branch out into many other genres.I showed him pop punk, he showed me dance and rap, and so on and so forth until we found ourselves with very eclectic tastes. I think the thing that I initially liked about Charlie was that he loved Arctic Monkeys just as much as I did: many nights were spent on instant messaging, discussing their lyrics, their latest album, what they were planning next.It was exciting for me to find someone just as much in love with the whole aesthetic of a band as I was, having long ago convinced myself that I was an insufferable music geek of the highest order, it was a new experience for me to have someone to share that with.
Since then, Charlie and I have become much firmer friends: other aspects of life become part of our discussion rather than just music. This isn’t to say that music has not been a determining factor in our friendship: in fact, I can almost mark the years we’ve been friends in terms of the bands we were into at those times: Arctic Monkeys, Jamie T, The Streets and more recently, Gorillaz. In fact, my love of Gorillaz is something that Charlie is almost wholly responsible for. I always knew he was a big fan, but my interest in them was passing until I began to realise how much they meant to him. As his recommendations had always been good in the past, I resolved to pay more interest, and soon found Damon Albarn’s cartoon creations to be far more inspired and infinitely listenable than I ever imagined. With both of us now established fans, we were more excited than ever for Gorillaz to release their third offering, Plastic Beach, in March 2010.
March 2010, interestingly enough, coincided with the time of year where the both of us were beginning to prepare for our AS examinations. Overworked with a high level of expectation and pressure, admittedly self inflicted, March 2010 was also when I chose to have a miniature nervous breakdown. I’ve found myself prone to these sorts of moods over the past few years, and it was always Charlie I could rely on to keep me going, although I knew life wasn’t giving him too brilliant a hand either. He empathized with me in a way that nobody else at that time did: he was always there to go over notes with, to quiz each other, or to distract me when I was simply sick of schoolwork. I don’t think he will every truly realise how much this meant to me, but for this reason, the song that reminds me of him is “On Melancholy Hill” by Gorillaz. I remember one day in particular where the both of us were so worried about Biology we came in and did a whole days worth of reading, trying to teach each other the bits we didn’t understand. We learnt so much in that one day it was a little overwhelming, and it was the first time in that period where I actually began to believe that I might pass my AS exams. Tired but pretty jubilant, we sat on the school field and he played me that very song. I’d heard it before, but listening to the song together that day, lyrics that seemed so perfectly encapsulative of that moment in our lives, made me truly appreciate the strength of our friendship, something for which I will be eternally grateful.

Day 06 – A song that reminds you of somewhere 
The Temper Trap - Sweet Disposition

For a song to remind you of a place, I think it must be a pretty vivid memory. Songs are so limitless: there’s always something new out, something that has a time and a place, connotations. For a song to be paired so infinitely with a place, they both must have had a pretty strong influence on a person, and for this reason, I’m going to talk about possibly the best weekend of my life, and the song that soundtracked it: Sweet Disposition by The Temper Trap.
As long as I can remember, it had been my dream to go to a music festival. A proper one, with three day camping, muddy wellies and more bands than you’d know to look at.I think it’s the ultimate goal really, for any music fan, and since the age of about 10, I would count down the days until summer so I could sit myself in front of the TV and watch any coverage that was available. Glastonbury, T in The Park, Download, Bestival… I’d be fixated by them all. But none of them seemed to be anywhere near as prestigious, as attractive to a “proper” music fan, as The Reading Festival.
Every year I watched, imagining myself there.I’d wait for the poster line up to come out and pore over it, working out who’d I’d see if I was lucky enough to attend. I never seriously thought it’d be within my reach: it seemed to just be another one of those things you do “when you’re older”. So when after watching 2008’s coverage, Dad said we should all go the next year, I wasn’t holding out much hope, especially considering that my parents were generally pretty overprotective about putting me in environments which lets be honest, aren’t always the loveliest of places.But true to their word, they said we could go in 2009: Me, My brother Taylor, Mum and Dad. I couldn’t have been more excited.
After a hellish ticket buying process (the less said about it the better: it took over four hours to get through, I was a wreck throughout) Thursday the 27th of September soon rolled round, the day we were due to be leaving, and funnily enough, the day I had to collect my GCSE results. I remember it being the oddest feeling ever: the anticipation of exam results mixed with the pure excitement at finally going to something that had hosted basically all of my heroes over the years.I did well: 4 A stars and 6 A’s, and knew that from that point on, I was going to have a fantastic weekend.
I won’t go into mass details or I’ll be here forever, but rest assured it was the most amazing time ever. I managed to see so many bands I’d never thought I’d see, not to mention fulfilling my absolute dream of seeing my favourite band Arctic Monkeys live (yes, I cried like a little girl numerous times, I know I’m sad). Just the general atmosphere was such an escape from normal life, I’ve never known anything like it.I was close to picking an Arctic Monkeys song to sum up this experience, but I think we all know what an effect they have on me, and there’s no need to talk about them again here. Let’s dig a little deeper.Everyone knows that every year without fail, there is “that song of summer” that they simply can’t escape. It’s usually something rubbish, that stays at number 1 for about a million weeks until it fades into obscurity and everyone forgets who sang it in the first place.However, 2009 was a departure from the usual crap, as I discovered on Reading Festival Friday, when I went to the Festival Republic tent to see The Temper Trap. I knew their song “Sweet Disposition”: it had been on the radio a lot, and was in my favourite film (500 Days Of Summer), but live, it just had such an intense power that I gave me a real “I was there” moment. As Dougy Mandagi sings the lines “A moment, a love, a dream aloud, a kiss, a cry, our rights, our wrongs” and has a choir of thousands join in with him from the audience, theres a sense of cameraderie and magic that pretty special, something I don’t think you’d get from any other experience than a music festival.I’m incredibly thankful that I got that experience at my age, and I’m sure it’s something that will become a permanent fixture in my life.

Day 07 – A song that reminds you of a certain event
Mumm-Ra - She's Got You High

I guess this is fairly similar to yesterdays, but hey, I still want to write about it! I mentioned yesterday that some songs and some situations just go together, and my 17th birthday trip was one of the days I remember being a strong example of this. It was an amazing day, made so good by sun,sea, friends, and… music.
Every year as spring rolls round, I get the same problem: what should I do to celebrate my birthday? Being one of the youngest in the year, by the time my birthday rolls round on May 11th, all the best ideas have been taken, and nobody wants to go and do something expensive all over again.I badly wanted an original idea, especially considering that around that time, I knew all of my friends were under exam stress. We badly needed a day off from textbooks and revision, but I couldnt think of anything to do in Stevenage that would provide the sense of escape that I wanted. Then I had a brainwave. Where do most people go to relax? The beach!
With fingers crossed for good weather, myself and around 10 of my closest friends piled in to a minvan dad had hired, and headed for Yarmouth beach. Naturally, no bus journey is complete without a good singalong: the ipod speakers were turned up to full volume as we sang along to anything and everything that came on on my admittedly, pretty eclectic ipod. I could see that everyone was in better spirits than they’d been for ages, and I could feel the relaxation setting in.
A few hours later, we headed straight for the beach, making sandcastles, digging holes and checking out the pier.It made such a nice difference to have somewhere to run around and explore: it was suddenly like we were all kids again.Caught in high spirits, some of my friends even ran in the sea- bad idea! We were freezing for most of the day after, but it was worth it.
Worn out from running around and being pretty silly, we all collapsed out the sand.The view was brilliant, the sky clear, and spread out on picnic blankets, it was so nice to see all of my friends laughing and having a good time, especially when its often hard to get everyone together in one place.I had a few friends who didnt know each other so well previously, but i neednt have worried: everyone was getting on like a house on fire and it was lovely to see.
We hung out on the beach all day, listening to music and forgetting all about A levels.I couldnt remember a day when I’d felt so carefree and at peace.We’d been having such a good time we didn’t realise it was getting late, and only when I looked up did I see what a beautiful colour the sky was turning.Pink was bleeding into purple, purple fading into the blue of the sea. A lone seagull was flying low over the waves, its squawks the only sound on this otherwise completely silent beach that we had all to ourselves.It was laughably idyllic: so breathtaking we all stopped and watched the sun sink over the sand dunes.Then, as if the setting couldnt get any more perfect, Liz turned her ipod back on, and the song that faded in was one of the most fitting ever: Mumm Ra “She’s Got You High”. It’s gentle guitar flooded over the dunes and perfectly captured the sense of the day: a time for relaxation and escape from daily life,  a day to appreciate the value of friendship, and really, a day to establish hopes for the future. “She’s Got You High” is one of my favourite songs ever, and it seems so unbelievable that it came on at that moment. I might not be a religious person, but I think thats got to be fate.

Day 08 – A song that you can relate to
My Chemical Romance - I'm Not Okay


As I’m sure the intelligent reader would have gathered from my musical blogs thus far, I am partial to a miserable song. It’s often so much easier to relate to a song when you’re in a rubbish mood- the emotions are often portrayed more clearly and descriptively.And lets be honest: you can’t really get more depressing than one of the very first bands I really got into - My Chemical Romance.
I remember first hearing of My Chemical Romance when I was about 12, and the middle of what is these days known as an “emo” phase. This involved wearing a lot of black, writing feeble poetry and listening to american punk such as MCR, Taking Back Sunday and Fall Out Boy. You’ll probably be pleased to know I grew out of that pretty quickly, but I still love everything My Chemical Romance ever made. They have a way of really connecting and empathising with an audience, both audibly and visually - I am yet to see a band put as much effort into their aesthetic, promotion and music videos as much as this band. They’ve stirred up huge controversy over the years (see The Daily Mail’s “War On Emo” campaign), but this really appealed to me. It meant that they had something to say.Admittedly, their music is not for everyone, but you’ve got to admire their passion and conviction, not to mention the way they involve their fans and make them feel part of the “MCArmy”.
Based on the pure merit of the lyric, I think possibly my most favourite My Chemical Romance song is the pretty tellingly titled “I’m Not OK”. Paired by a pretty epic video set in a high school, it’s a masterclass in teen angst, telling a story through simple lexis.We’ve been learning about adjacency pairs in English: how common is it that when someone asks you how you are, you automatically reply “i’m fine”? It seemed so basic, yet so refreshing, to hear Gerard Way to admit in a song that actually, his life was less than fine, and he wasn’t ashamed of it. There’s not really a lot that I’ve found to be as relateable and suprisingly cathartic as the lines “I’m not ok, yYou wear me out”, screamed at full volume.
I generally like my misery to be pretty quiet and toned down, but there are certain moments in music where you feel the need for some ”woe is me”, old fashioned anger. Gerard Way specialises in these sort of lyrics, always with a sense of humour yet genuine emotion.He’s been ridiculed often for putting his romantic issues out in such a self pitying way, but isn’t this what the whole x factor esque, ballad based industry is now all about? Everyone has problems. Sometimes to hear another persons problems is enough to make you forget your own, which really is what music should be all about.

Day 09 – A song that relaxes you
Radiohead - Nude

Pretty much in the last year or so, I think I’ve been branching out of my musical comfort zone. Maybe I’m just getting older, but I’m listening to far less of what my mum would call “angry music”, and instead, I’m enjoying gentler, often acoustic stuff. I’m getting into folk music, admittedly a more modern version. Music by the likes of Mumford and Sons, Laura Marling, Noah and the Whale and Bombay Bicycle Club. Through these bands and through listening to the radio more often, I’m also getting into classic bands, ones I was perhaps a little too young to appreciate first time round. One of these bands is Radiohead.
Up until the age of about 14, Radiohead was just one of those band names I’d heard mentioned in music magazines. I knew they must be something special: id been recommended them a few times, and I knew they were an influence on some of my favourite bands. Its what I can only look back on now as naivety, but I’d only heard one songs of theirs and thought they were pretty dreary sounding. How wrong I was. By accident, I was introduced to their song “Karma Police” when I heard Panic At The Disco do a version of it: I was instantly intrigued by how they could build such tension within a song that starts so calmly, and resolved to find out more. I rang up my cousin in Newcastle, he was a lifelong fan who was more than happy to give me a list of the best songs in their back catalogue. Before long, I was a pretty big fan of the band, particularly attracted to the force of Thom Yorke’s sprawling voice and awkward lyrics. “Creep” fast became my favourite song, solidified by a frankly stunning and apparently pretty rare performance of it that I was lucky enough to witness during their headline slot at last years reading festival.
It was at Reading that I think I finally began to understand the true force of Radiohead. Its hard to comprehend just how many songs they have, but my favourites have always been the softer, slower moments. For this reason, my favourite Radiohead album is their newest, “In Rainbows”, which is full of peace and genuinely beautiful lyrics. The way he sings is so personal, yet hold such wide appeal: I have never seen a man command a crowd with such gentle songs. Reading was such a crazy, overwhelming experience for me, that by Sunday night, I was ready for something more quietly cathartic. In honesty, I remember little more from that set than the lights, and the urgency of Thom’s voice. I have little recollection of which individual songs they played, only that each one sounded brilliant, merging into one long, mesmerising two hour set. However, there was one song that I remember clearly, and that song was “Nude”. Nude is perhaps my favourite song Radiohead have ever done, and definitely the best from “In Rainbows” It is almost illegally relaxing: I defy anyone to put it on when they’re feeling weary and not fall asleep. It has a strange hypnotic quality: the waves of guitar act as a strange sort of lullaby, regardless of your setting. Safety in music, I suppose you could call it. It seems ridiculous to me that I had overlooked such a significant band for so long, but I guess the moral of the story here is pretty evident- sometimes it’s best not to ignore “boring” bands: they might just have a lot more to offer.

Day 10 – A song that inspires you
Paramore - Misguided Ghosts


As someone to whom music is a big part of life, basically every band I talk about in these musical challenge pieces will be a source of inspiration to me.However, some bands just have a little more about them than just music. One of these bands is Paramore.
I’ve been a huge Paramore fan since they first started, back in 2005. Signed to the record label Fueled By Ramen, which had spawned some of my favourite bands, I knew that there would be something special about them from the first time I heard them. More than anything else, I was instantly enthralled by their frontwoman, Hayley Williams. To me, up until this point, punk rock music had always meant boys in eyeliner and black clothing bemoaning the nature of existence. But now I saw this tiny, five foot five 17 year old with bright orange hair, in a band with four guys, and I was impressed. She had a fierceness about her. It showed change, and to hear her sing demonstrated clearly that she deserved her place in such a competitive industry. Hayley’s voice is still incredibly strong, especially for someone of her age who tours so excessively. It carries very effectively over such a loud band, and has proven itself to be rather versatile, most notably on her recent feature on rapper B.O.B’s hit single “Airplanes”. I myself was having singing lessons around the same time I got into Paramore, and it was inspiring to see that there was more for girls to sing than disney songs and pop hits. I was also heartened to hear that Hayley, naturally a singer with an alto range, had managed to progress to being a soprano, just by daily practice. Anyone who hears her sing these days knows she has a huge vocal range, so to me that fact that that she could do it meant it was achievable for anyone.
Paramore were not greeted with open arms by the press when they first started. With their drummer Zack only fifteen when they were first touring, they were written off by many as a kids band, with nothing important to say. Their defiant ambition to stay true to their christianity was also a bone of contention among the music press: “christian rock” has always been considered less edgy than other genres, and in a way, nearly impossible to maintain in an industry of “sex, drugs and rock and roll”. This never really mattered to me: as far as I was aware, they were still singing about the same experiences I was having, and this was comforting for me to hear. If anything, their age and strong beliefs only made me more appreciative of their songwriting prowess.In the space of only three years, Paramore had released two very good albums (“All We Know Is Falling” and “Riot!”), gaining a fanbase the traditional way: endless touring with a boundless sense of enthusiasm.In late 2008, when Paramore’s song “Decode” featured on the Twilight soundtrack, sending them into the mainstream, I couldn’t think of anyone who deserved the sucess it more.
By 2009, Paramore had been on a bit of a break: they hadn’t released anything but the Twilight song for over a year. Rumours were rife about in-band issues and fighting, and I began to fear that I had lost one of my favourite bands. Could it be true that a group who had previously been so united were now staying in seperate hotel rooms, refusing to talk to each other? However, this inter band chaos proved to be one of the best things that happened to Paramore.They announced that they were having band therapy sessions, and were planning to return with their third effort, entitled “Brand New Eyes” , in late 2009. I was instantly cheered, but a little worried. Would this be an angry album, a lyrical argument? Would it destroy everythign I’d ever loved about the band?
I needn’t have worried: Brand New Eyes was better than I could have every dreamt and is now one of my favourite albums of all time. I find it amazing that they could have brought together so much tension, so much confrontation and yet made a cohesive album that actually has a lot of hope about it. One of Brand New Eyes stand out moments for me is a song called Misguided Ghosts. When you know the story behind the album, its obvious that its about their struggles as a band, but without that context, its simply a lovely acoustic song about feeling lost, yet knowing deep down, “you are not useless”. It shows that its always possible to work through difficult times. It’s an inspiring testament to them as people that they were willing and able to temporarily work through the cracks in their friendship to see the bigger picture: that they were five very talented people who still had a lot to give to the music industry, and to their fans. Whilst this might not have worked out, what with Zac and Josh Farro leaving in 2010, I still feel the sentiment of working against the odds rings true.

Day 11 – A song from your favorite band 
Day 12 – A song from a band you hate 
Day 13 – A song that is a guilty pleasure 
Day 14 – A song that no one would expect you to love 
Day 15 – A song that describes you 
Day 16 – A song that you used to love but now hate 
Day 17 – A song that you hear often on the radio 
Day 18 – A song that you wish you heard on the radio 
Day 19 – A song from your favorite album 
Day 20 – A song that you listen to when you’re angry 
Day 21 – A song that you listen to when you’re happy 
Day 22 – A song that you listen to when you’re sad 
Day 23 – A song that you want to play at your wedding 
Day 24 – A song that you want to play at your funeral 
Day 25 – A song that makes you laugh 
Day 26 – A song that you can play on an instrument 
Day 27 – A song that you wish you could play 
Day 28 – A song that makes you feel guilty 
Day 29 – A song from your childhood 
Day 30 – Your favorite song at this time last year