originally posted on Saturday, 27 April 2013
Pop punk band Paramore have practically made a career for themselves, at such a young age, for being one of the most recognizable names in modern rock. They have released three albums, 2005’s All We Know Is Falling, 2007’s Riot! And 2009’s Brand New Eyes, all of which have a distinctive signature sound that no other band has really been able to duplicate. Much of the credit for the band’s sound has always gone to lead vocalist Hayley Williams and her powerful yet charming voice and her capability to sing a rock song and still be taken seriously. Not enough credit ever does go to the band itself, which consists of bassistJeremy Davis, guitarist Taylor York (who joined in 2007) as well as the Farro brothers Josh and Zacrespectfully on lead guitar and drums.
Well, the lack of attention given to the rest of the band beyond Hayley finally hit its limit on the patience of the Farro brothers and in 2011 they quit (it was well known that the band had almost broken up around the time Brand New Eyes was released, so this was expected). This left the band without the innovative musical minds of the two, particularly Josh, who with Hayley wrote musically revolutionary songs such as Brighter, Hallelujah and Ignorance. In 2011 the band released their first set of songs without the Farro’s, an EP called Singles Club, which showed promise that the band’s sound wouldn’t change drastically with such songs as Monster.
Then this past April, the band finally released their fourth self titled album, this time as a trio, with session musicians featured on some parts to help with the sound. The result is not like the bands previous albums. This time instead of keeping a consistent punk sound through all seventeen (yes seventeen) songs, the band showed a great deal of maturity in creating an album of various influences, with practically no two tracks sounding the same.
The album starts off with Fast In My Car. It doesn’t take ten seconds to realize that there is something different. The song has a good heavy beat and guitar sound, but adds some electronic elements that have never been heard on a Paramore song. Thankfully the electronic effects don’t overcome the song, leaving it a great fun song, similar to past songs like That’s What You Get.
The first single released from the album is Now. Though the song has apparently come with acclaim, a number of people I’ve spoken to, as well as I myself did not initially like the song. The song is good but not great. I just had to remind these people what I have said in many of my past reviews; bands as of late have NOT been releasing the best song on their album as the first single. The more you listen to the song the more it grows on you. It has a strong message and some powerful parts, but it is a drastic change from past Paramore songs, most similarly comparable to a song like Decode, just a little more intense.
The second, and as of yet last single released from the album is Still Into You; a rather happy sounding love song, a change from the usual gloomy sound that the band usually incorporates to their music. This is one of a few slower songs on the album.Daydreaming is among one of the others. This song in particular sounds very much like past Paramore songs with the slightly unhappy sound of Hayley’s voice and the undeniable rock beat that is heard in the background. Last Hope, much like Daydreaming, has a familiar Paramore sound yet you can tell there is definite maturity, particularly in how it starts off very soft and picks up, but still remains a soft heartfelt song all the way through.
The album has three interludes; Moving On, Holidayand I’m Not Angry Anymore. One might think to themself “what the heck?” but these are not typical interludes. Unlike most interludes which are typically around 30 second instrumental tracks and really serve absolutely positively no purpose to the album, these interludes are actually just short little songs, all around a minute to a minute and a half. All three are simply a ukulele playing with Hayley singing on top of it. All three are catchy and make for an interesting little feature.
Grow Up is another example of the different mix up of influences featured on the album. The song has some hip-hop and some electronic influence to its sound. The music is bright and fun while the lyrics aren’t. It gives a late 90’s pop/alternative feel, similar to that of Sugar Ray, which some fans of the band might not get, but luckily it still as a bit of a Paramore sound to it. Ain’t It Fun also has some funk and soul influence to it, making it almost as different as Grow Up, only this time the song sounds more like a Paramore song, with an upbeat guitar riff and drum beat, and Hayley singing her teasing style in the songs chorus.
Some of the songs on the album do sound through and through like the Paramore we used to know in the past. Part II for instance, true to its name is in fact a sequel, to the song Let The Flames Begin from theRiot! Album. This song features very similar yet slightly tweaked lyrics, but musically you’d never be able to tell that this wasn’t the same band that released any of the previous albums. Taylor York really does find his inner Josh Farro in his guitar playing for this song. Anklebiters has a good familiar fun Paramore feeling to it, but with a bit of a newer sound, sort of blending in both the old and new elements of the band. Proof and Be Alone are very much like an older song by the band, with Be Alone sounding the most like older Paramore compared to any other song on the album.
One sign of the maturing song writing of the bands is found in the songs Hate To See Your Heart Break and[One Of Those] Crazy Girls, both my personal favourites and both have a very old fashioned punk sound, blending 50’s and 60’s doo-wop similar to how The Ramones used to do it, however these songs seem to be done in a more in a Green Day style; kind of in ballad form rather than fast and quick.
The album ends off with Future. With this song clocking in at 7:53, it is the longest song the band has ever recorded (in fact, six of the songs on this album make up for the six longest songs the band has ever recorded). The song sounds more like a grunge song. It starts off acoustically and sounding suspiciously like it was recorded on analog. As the song gets heavier (and the singing stops), the guitars get more and more sludgy. The song is merely just a track to end off the album, but still an effective one. It even does the old trick of sounding like its finished by having the sound fade, and then two seconds later when you’re about to turn the song off, the volume starts to rise again for another two minutes.
Paramore has officially shown the world that they are serious musicians. They are no longer kids playing adult singing about childish problems, they are adults and write music like adults that still sounds fun, but also still sounds serious. This album is a major turning point for the band, getting acclaim from everywhere. Hayley’s voice is in absolutely fine form and Taylor York has really broken out of his shell having a writing credit on every single song this time around, not having to play behind Josh Farro any longer. It is, however, very different from past albums, so existing fans of the band will have to have an open mind before listening to the album.
“Daydreaming” – For one simple reason, this song would best exemplify the crossover between old Paramore music and this album. Not to mention it is a fantastic song all around. It flip from being a kind hearted soft song to picking up to a more than exceptional level for its chorus, which is something done in many past Paramore songs. It maintains a fun and free feeling throughout the song, almost as though it is the soundtrack to a day dream.
9 (Out of 10)
|“Fast in My Car”||3:42|
|“Interlude: Moving On”||1:30|
|“Ain’t It Fun”||4:56|
|“Still Into You”||3:36|
|“Hate to See Your Heart Break”||5:09|
|“(One of Those) Crazy Girls”||3:32|
|“Interlude: I’m Not Angry Anymore”||0:52|