Music Feeds’ Love Letter to a Record series asks artists to reflect on their relationship with the music they love and share stories about how it has influenced their lives. Here, Jess Day raises a glass to Paramore’s third album, Brand New Eyes (2009).
Four years and close to a dozen singles after her debut, Adelaide singer-songwriter Jess Day has released the EP, The Lovers (Reversed). The EP represents two years’ worth of songwriting and personal and creative growth for Day. “I hope these tales of heartbreak, melancholy and triumph make some of its listeners feel seen and validated,” Day said in a statement.
Jess Day’s Love Letter to Paramore’s Brand New Eyes
Jess Day: The first track, ‘Careful’, shattered my brain. The snare and distortion quite honestly sent me into another realm. My life was changed forever. Then, the chorus. Hayley Williams’ vocals sent a shooting shiver down my spine and made my eyes well up. I’d never had this kind of physiological response to music before.
There’s an authenticity in her vocal delivery that made me feel like I would believe anything she said. I waited for the next song, expecting to do the usual thing of skipping two, listening to one, skip another couple, listen to one. This entire album had my undivided attention and I hung on to every new section with ravenous desperation.
My 80GB iPod Classic was at maximum volume, the high end leaking from the holes on the outsides of the earphones. My ears could’ve been bleeding but I didn’t care. By ‘Brick By Boring Brick’, I was a changed person.
I’d been exposed to Avril Lavigne, classic rock and softer forms of pop punk. But this was something else. There was an angst inside it and the instrumentation tickled my brain in a way I hadn’t felt before. It also really opened me up to the world of post-hardcore and metalcore.
Brand New Eyes was formative to my songwriting and certainly a gateway into the realms of heavier music. I was in grade 6 or 7 and I’d been teaching myself guitar. This album was how I learnt. I would watch YouTube tutorials from fans and learn as I went. Lots of octave chords, drop D tuning and power chords became the blueprint for how I would approach my own writing later on.
I knew I couldn’t sing. A girl called Megan told me so when we were doing karaoke in year 5. But I was so re-inspired that I had to express the feelings for these songs beyond playing them on guitar. I would wait until I was home alone and then aimlessly belt as hard as I could. One time mum came home and ran out to see if I was okay. I was trying, and failing, to sing ‘All I Wanted’. About two years ago I realised, I can hit that note now. Little me would be so proud.
I didn’t have lots of friends in school and always felt like a bit of an outsider. I’d recently moved from the country to the city and I felt that there was some secret to assimilating that no one was telling me. This largely contributed to music taking up so much of my time, because it was my reliable friend who just understood the distress I was going through at what felt like such a young age.
Hayley Williams became my idol. I never anticipated being a musician at the time, but gawked in reverence at the way she unapologetically took up space. I hadn’t yet seen any women in any genres other than pop and her raw power shook me to my core.
Every time I hear a song off of this album, I am still moved as intensely as if I am hearing it again for the first time. Paramore, I owe you one. You got me through some of the hardest times in my life and inspired me to express myself through music as unapologetically as Hayley Williams does.
Jess Day – ‘Naked’
- Jess Day’s The Lovers (Reversed) is out now.
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