Ok so it seems like the problem is this:
I had another problem previously where the front page isn't taking up the SEO title that I have set. Instead, it takes the title under "general settings". I fixed that by going into "reading" and setting the front page to the static page that I wanted, instead of having it at "latest posts".
Now this seems to break the pagination feature (explained above). The pagination works again when I set the front page back to "latest posts" instead of the static page. However, the other problem is now un-fixed...the SEO title doesn't work and it takes the title under General Settings...