Hayley Williams has got to be living the dream. Sixteen years old, and at the helm of a rising band with a record deal. How many 16-year-olds can you name who’ve got those credentials?
As far as I’m concerned, that’s pretty damn impressive. Fueled by Ramen’s Paramore are definitely a band on the rise, thanks in large part to Williams, who may be only 16, but has the range of a seasoned music business veteran. Fronting this four-piece band, the young singer belts out at quite the impressive range, one that drives the songs, and the album as a whole just the same. The music backing her may not be the most inventive, but they’re already a few steps ahead on no basis other than those vocals. “All We Know” opens the album in fine fashion, with some pretty basic riffing, and Haley’s vocals, though relatively quiet, immediately impressing, and she will continue to do so for the rest of the album. But the more the album goes on, the more it unravels.
The problem here is the structure of the songs, they’re just too flat, too linear. A voice like that needs some real dynamic musicianship behind it, and it’s sorely lacking on All We Know Is Falling. Even by the standards of similar pop-rock bands, the guitar seems a bit uninspired, the drumming a bit lazy, and the bass is barely existent, if existent at all. It gets to be a problem, when the band's lack of ability and diversity drag Williams down. Take “Never Let This Go,” a relatively slow song, where the vocals sound like a complete afterthought, just because there’s nothing driving them underneath. There’s only so much that one person can do themselves in a band; there’s got to be some chemistry, and I’m having a real hard time finding any. And as the album goes on, any momentum from the beginning really seems to be fleeting. “My Heart” is an extremely poor note to end things on, as what could have been a beautiful track was really disrupted by some awful, awful background growling at the end of the song. Williams just never gets that real chance to let her vocals expand, without being pulled back down by her bandmates.
At only 16 years old, Hayley Williams has an absolutely incredible voice.
At only 16 years old, Hayley Williams does not have the band to match, and it’s that poor song construction that leads to this record's early demise.