Are Paramore’s Hard Times Over?
Unlike many bands that emerged from the pop-punk scene that ran rampant in 2007, Paramore went from Vans Warped Tour to winning a Grammy. However, among all of their mainstream success came at the expensive of their band time and time again. We’ve seen the band have a very public breakup, twice. With drummer Zac Farro returning to the band, Paramore’s lineup as a trio shifted, and in turn, produced a whole new direction for the band.
Paramore’s new sound is a counter to just about everything in their discography. With their original emo sound evolved from their first album “All We Know is Falling,” to hits like “Misery Business,” “That’s what you get,” and “CrushCrushCrush,” to name a few. Their self-titled album launched the band into the stratosphere with the hit smash “Ain’t it Fun,” which brought the band their first grammy (and their best charting single to date). However, their third album, Brand New Eyes, showed the band’s maturity into a full-fledged alternative band. Considering their track record, it’s always been hard to predict just what Paramore would do next. This time around, the answer is nothing.
According to lead singer Hayley Williams, if it wasn’t for guitarist Taylor York, the band would be over already. In an interview for Beats 1, Williams dove into in-depth topics surrounding the music, and more importantly, if the band could survive at all. From fragile friendships to uncertain musical arrangements, it took another round of what has come to be usual growing pains for the band to get to their new album, After Laughter. The result isn’t just daring, it’s as catchy and mellow as ever.
Williams trades in her powerhouse vocals for melodic rhymes and grooves you’d expect from a band twenty years ago. The lead single, “Hard Times,” gives the best glimpse into what can only be considered a phase for Paramore. The overall tone of the song, much like “Ain’t It Fun,” is upbeat but leaves a new range of emotions to be discovered through the lyrics.
“All that I want /Is a hole in the ground/You can tell me when it’s all right/For me to come out.”
The entire album covers the emotions that the band goes through in their transition as a new trio. Considering the fact that Paramore has had a different line-up for each of their albums, there are a lot of ground to cover, and Williams leads this nostalgic swan dive into Paramore’s taxing history.
This new Paramore doesn’t shy away from much, even the recent departure of bassist Jeremy Davis, who seems to be the focus for “Tell Me How,” the song that closes the album. “Told You So,” stands out as well, confronting the plethora of detraction and doubters Paramore gained as they transitioned into their pop sound.
Paramore has never been a difficult act to enjoy. With a collection of hits, diverse discography, newfound confidence and sound, Paramore has been able to do what they’ve always able to do. Adapt to what is necessary, and let the music follow. Teetering on the brink of different genres, and even their own implosion, After Laughter is an exploration of what Paramore is truly capable of. While we shouldn’t expect more hard times for the band, it seems to be the external factor that drives this band to new heights.