Album Review: Paramore – Paramore

Some of us have to grow up sometimes.

Change is inevitable, be it for better or worse.

After a torrid time in the band’s career where they parted ways with brothers Josh and Zac FarroParamore were on the verge of calling it quits. Thankfully, the remaining trio of Hayley WilliamsJeremy Davis and Taylor York moved the fuck on. Unveiling their fourth studio album’s title as ‘Paramore’, it signified that this is Paramore and that this is how it’s meant to be.

The aforementioned split from the Farros seems to have freed the trio from their pop-punk shackles; this is a band ready to embrace multiple genres of music, ready to gamble, as playing it safe was never an option on this record. Their empowering reckless attitude is smeared all over album-opener ‘Fast In My Car’, Williams clearly inspired by female greats such as Cyndi Lauper and Gwen Stefani with her vocals now infused with a new-found pop tinge, she’s never sounded better.

Lead single ‘Now’ is a fiery exchange between the band and some uncertain characters *ahem*, demanding what is rightfully theirs – a future. It’s not their best single by far, but it’s one of their most musically potent songs.

‘Grow Up’ and ‘Moving On’ provide some closure to a theme of maturing, one an electro-pop ”fuck you” blown kiss, whilst the latter is a blissful ukelele number (one of three) that showcases Williams’ magnificent voice in all its simplicity.

A great example of Paramore’s venture into other music genres is ‘Ain’t It Fun’, a gleeful, jaunty song that blossoms into a gospel choir singalong, definitely the album’s marmite track – love or hate it. It’s at this point old school Paramore fans might think there isn’t anything for them here, but they’d be wrong to checkout early. Gems like ‘Part II’ (a sequel to ‘Riot’s ‘Let The Flames Begin‘) – a beautifully dark experimental number with an exceptional breakdown courtesy of York, Davis and touring drummer, the superb Ilan Rubin. The bubblegum-pop perfection of ‘Still Into You’ echoes the bands earlier work, as does the fast and furious joyous romp that is ‘Anklebiters’.

To many, 17 songs may be considered overkill and it’s a valid point. Out of all three of the ukelele interludes, ‘Moving On’ is the only one worth listening to, whilst ‘(One Of Those) Crazy Girls’ is lyrically brilliant (and quite insane) it falls a bit flat. ‘Be Alone’ tries to recapture the days of ‘All We Know Is Falling‘ but it doesn’t hit those heights. The worst, however, is saved ’til last, ‘Future’ is simply a big chunk ‘a nothin’. More of a instrumental than an actual song, its lyrics and the recurring guitar, bass and percussions are just poor.

‘Paramore’ often feels like an outlet for all of their previous troubles, as if they’re purging their system by venting all of the angst through new sounds and systems; a rebirth if you will. It features some of the Tennessee trio’s best and worst songs and as incohesive as it is, collectively it’s a remarkably good stepping-stone towards what will maybe become their masterpiece.

4 stars.

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