Brand New Eyes
Label: Fueled By Ramen/Atlantic
With all the attention Paramore received for Riot!, in-group tension ensued. Fortunately, that tension manifested itself in one of 2009's strongest pop-punk albums. The members go through an exorcism of sorts, with producer Rob Cavallo (Green Day) helping them expel their frustrations both assertively ("Ignorance") and introspectively ("The Only Exception," "All I Wanted"). Hayley Williams, as aware of her own faults as she is of her parents', her crushes' and her bandmates', writes and sings with a conviction unmatched in the genre. Boys, you're totally getting beat by a girl.