There is this band that I’ve listened to for as long as I can remember, and I have over played their albums and cat-scream sung over every song at least 400 times. And yet I found myself being a bit standoffish with their latest album. Why? Because it is a sound that is not quite them, yet now I’ve let go and actually listened to it, it is so them! Now to cut to the chase, this band is Paramore. I’ve been to a gig and caught them at festivals, and I have always loved them. I had red hair because I love red hair, but also because Hayley had red hair. I still have the hoodie that was purchased from the gig I went to back in 2009 and I was heartbroken when I threw my t-shirt away, that’s how long this love affair with Paramore’s music has gone on for. They have been a big part of my life, they have been my down time music, my blocking the world out music and they have also been my over the moon happy music. Paramore have always managed to be there for me musically.
So when their new album ‘After Laughter’ saw its first public release of Hard Times coming out, I was filled with anticipation. And well when it came to my ear, I was upset. Paramore’s rock vibe was not apparent within this track, this wasn’t Paramore. This wasn’t my Paramore that I have loved all these years! You see their new album ‘After Laughter’ see’s the band experimenting and channelling some 80’s vibes into their songs, all combined with some pretty raw/real life lyrics. But then the song got stuck in my head and I just had to sit myself down, suck it up and listen to it and well… There it was! My Paramore. The quirky lyrics (that often are quite raw), the riffs, the drums and the connection. It was Paramore, but what seems to be Paramore coming of age.
Finally I stopped being a stubborn little child and realised if I’m now in my early 20’s and I’ve been listening to Paramore for around 10 years, then they are going to change. They are going to experiment, that’s what music is after all. After that telling off/realisation I plonked my butt on my bed, put some headphones on and played the album. Boy, was that the best thing I did that week! The 13 song track list is phenomenal, filled with some great music and writing and well I’m fully embracing those 80’s vibes. Below I’ve listed my favourites off the album and what I thought whilst listening to them, but seriously compiling this list was hard! It’s such a great album.
- Told You So – The third track on the album, this song is packed with great vocals, quirky tunes and sassy lyrics. It’s that type of song you can’t help but sway along to, and you can’t help but sing along too either. I think many can agree when someone says to you “I told you so” you just feel bitter, maybe even flick a glare their way (I know you know), and this song captures that perfectly with the lyrics. What I really love about this song though is the use of the bass and guitar throughout. They are very clearly heard and actually hold more of the beat than you think. The drums throughout are great, but they appear to incorporate more of an additional structure to the tune that’s within the track rather than being the heartbeat of the song.
- Fake Happy – This song is just unreal! It’s the fifth track on the album, and starts off so mellow and low, with soft lyrics and acoustic guitar strumming slowly building the song up which then, just stops. Out of nowhere, the funkiness builds! This song has a great contrast, as the tune is quite upbeat and happy, but the lyrics are deep and very meaningful. For me this is a clever touch on mental health. It may not be, but that’s the connection I’ve put with this song. There are people out there that will feel this way at some point for whatever reason, and this form of recognition is great. It gets it out there and helps to break down the stigma. I love it. But it being a banger of a song helps too. As I said it may not be about mental health, but if I can make the connection (and I ain’t the sharpest tool in the shed) then many others may too. Which is how this stigma removal could benefit from this song. With lyrics like “I bet that everybody here is just as insincere” and “Oh please, I bet that everybody here is fake happy too”, helps to provide proof that you aren’t alone in this world, adding a support mechanism.
- Idle Worship – The slightly more heavier sounding track with hints of a very young Paramore filtered within, ‘Idle Worship’ is the tenth track on the album and I completely love it! This song is oozing with sass, its oozing with a powerful vibe, and brimming with some great music. The vocals in this song are amazing, with different pitches and projection, Hayley’s vocals definitely shows how talented she is within this song. The drums are equally as versatile within this song as they are either loud, yet tame beats or fast intricate ones. The guitar is just bang on! And exactly what I wanted to hear in this one, as it incorporates the new sound with hints of Paramore’s slightly older sound from back when they were throwing bangers like ‘Decoy’ out. I would like to point out that although this song isn’t as rock sounding as ‘Decoy’, it has a hint of that vibe which has been very cleverly mellowed out and incorporated into this new 80’s vibe. ‘Idle Worship’ is that song that I just blast out of my car speakers, and sing my heart out to! To the point where if you are unfortunate enough to be sat next to me at the traffic lights, I am probably going to be throwing some sassy (at least I think so) dance moves at the red light, followed with some pretty horrific singing. That’s how great a song this is.
- Rose-Coloured Boy – The second track on the album ‘Rose-Coloured Boy’ is another great song showcasing this new 80’s inspo sound, that Paramore are playing with at the moment. With a quirky backing vocal that sounds chanty, the sound has some serious 80’s elements within it including some synth. I can’t help but feel this is a song about someone who is very into believing on showing that they have no problems, that there are no problems out there, that there is no excuse for being sad. And I feel this song just hits that feeling you get from that, right on the head. With lyrics like ‘we can’t all be like you, I wish we were all rose-coloured too’ and ‘boy you ain’t ever seen my mind’, you can feel the emotion and the slight annoyance being portrayed perfectly. Again I could be completed wrong, but I just feel it is so cleverly done and it just fits so well.
- Hard Times – And last but not least, the first track on the album and the first release/introduction to the new sound ‘Hard Times’ is definitely within my top, top 3 favs off this album. From the video, to the music, to the lyrics, to the new vibe, I just love it! This is another one that I feel is touching on mental health/dealing with crappy times, yet in a very grown up way. The lyrics seem to come from both aspects of that feeling. With the chorus sounding like that thing that’s ruining your mood/day/month yet, the verses seem to be more centralised round the affected person and how they are feeling. Again a beautiful contrast with the funky, upbeat sound of the music and vocals, mixed together with the emotional filled lyrics. This track has great use of that 80’s inspo with synth and a killer techno sounding tune that sticks in your head for days. My favourite thing about this song is the guitar, its funky, its filled with upbeat happy chords yet isn’t overloaded. Both lead and rhythm riffs sound great within this piece, and the techniques used just add to the quirky beat yet showcase what Taylor can do with his guitar. Hard Times is a smashing first release and first track of the album.
What I really like about this album is that it feels really realistic, and you can connect to it. To me, this album appears to be Paramore as a group growing up and maturing as they get older. As well as them having to face/deal with issues within real life. Perfect example of this is ‘Fake Happy’; this song to me (as I’ve mentioned above) just screams the real life “problem” of mental health/illness battles, which many people can and will relate to. Which I think is important here, because when music speaks to you, its a better experience overall, as you not only hear the music but you feel the music. You appreciate each guitar strum, each chord, each drum beat, each vocal pitch and each synth note. Every single fine detail is heard, felt, and lived within music when it can be relate-able or even connect between its listener and itself.
All in all its a great album and now that I’ve got over the initial temper tantrum (because I’m stubborn), I 100% recommend this album and can ensure you will enjoy it!
As always, thank you for taking the time to read my post filled with my opinions and thoughts. I honestly means more than you could imagine!
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