Paramore’s new album is different.
That was expected, especially since the band stopped wearing black skinny jeans and front woman, Haley Williams, swapped out her loud, orange hair for light blonde locks. As they changed their style, it was inevitable that they would alter their sound as well.
At first, I found it difficult to determine whether the tracks off of “After Laughter” were a good kind of different or a disappointing kind of different. With ‘80s synths and undistorted guitars, Paramore was almost unrecognizable.
After listening to it on repeat since its release on May 12, though, it has proved to be a spectacular kind of different.
Their sound matured while simultaneously becoming more hip. They are no longer the pop-punk, Warped Tour band I fell in love with. They are groovier now, especially in songs such as “Hard Times.” In that particular track, the lead guitar emulates a steel drum, producing a cruise-like sound. It is unforgivably catchy. On other tracks, such as “Rose Colored Boy,” the staccato guitar riffs and addicting melodies make it impossible to resist humming along.
As the songs played through and the initial shock wore away, I realized that Paramore’s fifth album was a masterpiece.
Besides the actual music, the lyrics were also a standout aspect of this album. Their song “Idle Worship,” spoke to the fans, telling us what the band never had the confidence to say before. Phrases such as “I don’t want your money” and “we all need heroes… I’m not your superhuman” made me feel proud of them for speaking their minds. They also forced me to reassess my unhealthy obsessions and irrational expectations for musicians, including those in Paramore.
The most exciting part of the album, though, was that Paramore became more confident. They knew they could change entirely and still be loved. This confidence radiates throughout “After Laughter,” and is what makes its songs truly fun to listen to.
“After Laughter” worried me at first, making me think I lost my favorite band. However, in it, Paramore showed that they still possesses the qualities that I originally fell in love with them for. They maintained their unforgettable energy as well as their passion in every piece they release.
So, as of May 12, 2017 one thing is certain:
Paramore is back, more powerful than ever.