During 2015, we’re going to be looking back on some of the best albums that were released 10 years ago and discussing their legacy. Feel free to share your thoughts and memories in the replies. Enjoy!
Lights are out, amps are humming, and the air is thick with anticipation. Charging onto the stage, a spirited red head grabs the mic and belts with more vigor than her size suggests, “We. Are. Paramore!”
Back before this trio became the worldwide phenomenon we know today, Paramore were like most opening bands – desperate for a chance to share their songs and make their mark. The wild and astonishing ride we’ve seen unfold over the past decade all began with All We Know is Falling – the band’s striking debut album.
Released to little fanfare by Fueled by Ramen, All We Know is Falling relied heavily on organic word of mouth buzz. All in their mid to late teens at the time of the album’s release, singer Hayley Williams, guitarists Josh Farro and Jason Bynum, and drummer Zac Farro appeared as mild mannered kids, yet their music and live performance spoke otherwise. Paramore earned their stripes early through relentless touring, getting in front of as many eyes and ears as possible.
It’s not at all surprising that people took notice. Even 10 years later, All We Know is Falling is packed with infectious songs. Emulating the emo pop vibe of its era, the album is full of youthful spunk and emotion, highlighted by Williams’ stunning vocal performance and the powerful drumming of young Zac Farro. The two shine brightly on turbulent opener “All We Know” as Williams belts the massive, anguished chorus of, “All we know is falling, it falls / Remember, because I know that we won’t forget at all”.
Years before the band would suffer significant inter-band turmoil and the painful departure of the Farro brothers, Williams and company were already wrestling with the loss of bassist Jeremy Davis. Although Davis would return to the lineup before the end of the album cycle, his disappearance served as fodder for much of the band’s debut. Nevertheless, All We Know isn’t angry as much as it is searching for answers.
Even though the album would garner most of its attention due to excellent singles “Pressure” and “Emergency”, there’s very little filler to be found. “Here We Go Again” finds the band testing the waters of what would become their energetic follow up of Riot!, while “My Heart” is an emotive closer that became a fan favorite at live shows.
“Conspiracy and “Never Let This Go” are slow burns that pay off thanks to incredible songwriting, along with direction from producer James Paul Wisner. When Williams begins the latter with the line of “Maybe if my heart stops beating, it won’t hurt this much”, her pained vocals wash away any possible feelings of triteness, especially after the band crashes into the explosive chorus.
Most of the tracks on the album sound on the brink of something bigger, even as you’re gladly singing along. It’s easy to look back and see a young band on the edge of forthcoming radio dominance. Perhaps what’s most telling is how well the album has held up, even after Paramore’s massive success and rapid growth as a hit making machine. There’s something timeless about this early work, even if the band members were only in their infancy as professional songwriters.
Maybe what makes All We Know is Falling so appealing after all these years is the stories it holds. We got our first glimpse into Williams’ painful inner-wrestling with the concept of love in light of her parents’ divorce on “Emergency” as she sings, “I’ve seen love die way too many times when it deserved to be alive / I’ve seen you cry way too many times when you deserved to be alive”.
On “Franklin”, the band reflects on their changing hometown after leaving for a life on the road. I was struck with a surprising ache when hearing the song performed live during the band’s recent Writing the Future tour. Originally a duet between Williams and Josh Farro, the song’s gentle final lines now feel haunting a decade later when sung between Williams and guitarist Taylor York: “Could you remind me of a time when we were so alive / Do you remember that? / Do you remember that?”
All We Know is Falling is much more than a simple debut – it’s a time capsule that reminds us of Paramore’s beginnings and the crazy journey that followed. The album isn’t as instantly catchy as Riot!, as visceral as Brand New Eyes, or as diverse as Paramore. It is, however, its own, unique entity, full of life and rhythm. As much as I love everything Paramore has become, All We Know is Falling will always be a favorite of mine and a constant reminder of the pain and joy of being alive.
by Kiel Hauck
Kiel Hauck is the editor in chief at It’s All Dead. Over the past decade, he has been a contributor for multiple online and print publications and was most recently an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife and their imaginary pet, Hand Dog. You can follow him on Twitter.