On April 19th 2017, I logged onto Facebook to see that Paramore had dropped a new single entitled, “Hard Times.” Ecstatic, I clicked to listen, remembering that last time Paramore had released an album, it was April 5th, 2013.
There had been rumors going around that Paramore had new music coming out, but because the band had been in the process of changing members, no one was entirely sure what “New Paramore” would really look like. Admittedly, I was a little afraid of this, because throughout the years, a band’s sound can change drastically and sometimes it’s disappointing.
It’s obvious by their sound and their aesthetic that they have grown.
This wasn’t one of those instances. “Hard Times” completely blew me away upon first listening to it. Back and ready as ever, the music video begins with lead singer Hayley Williams walking through smoke in a colorful 80’s dream land. The song begins with bongos and marimbas, a totally different sound than we’re used to from the rock band.
Because the song sounded so different from what the band has produced in the past, I was shocked by just how familiar Paramore’s sound still felt. Upon listening to the song a few times, I couldn’t help but get the catchy, upbeat song stuck in my head. The lyrics and the sound are a complete juxtaposition – the sound being bright and something you could easily dance to, and the lyrics feeling much deeper than just that:
“Hard times / Gonna make you wonder why you even try / Hard times / Gonna take you down and laugh while you cry.”
Needless to say, I was excited when I saw that they’d be dropping an album in just a few shorts weeks.
While I loved Paramore growing up – even when they were just starting out with “All We Know Is Falling” in 2005. I can appreciate them even more now that I’m older. It’s obvious by their sound and their aesthetic that they have grown, but their lyrics and the message they’re sending tell us that they’re still the same band.
On May 12th, 2017, Paramore finally graced us with their newest album, “After Laughter,” and since the release, it’s all I’ve been listening to. Packed with a variety of colorful instruments to match the fresh, passionate lyrics, I couldn’t help but fall in love. Songs like “Fake Happy” and “Rose-Colored Boy” touch on the idea that it’s impossible to be happy all the time, even when you’re an “adult” and songs like “Pool” and “Tell Me How” speak to relationships that are complicated and/or in limbo.
“Tell me how to feel about you now / Oh, let me know / Do I suffocate or let go?”
What I appreciate about Paramore is that while they’ve definitely progressed into a more pop sound, they continue to produce music that is as raw and honest as it is catchy and musical.
Not everyone can be perfectly “adult” or “happy” all the time, and this album shows that that is OK.
What I think is most important about “After Laughter” is that it is not only a representation of Paramore and its members growing up and changing, it is an honest depiction of what making that transition into adulthood looks like. “After Laughter” shows that even in adulthood, there are still messy relationships, complicated situations, and struggles with mental health. Not everyone can be perfectly “adult” or “happy” all the time, and this album shows that that is OK.
In comparison to earlier Paramore albums, “After Laughter” is definitely a more mature sound, which is to be expected given how much this band has grown over time. “All We Know Is Falling,” “Brand New Eyes,” and “Riot!” are albums that definitely are from a different time for Paramore – and focus more on growing up, adolescence, and all the angst and emotions that come with it. “After Laughter” doesn’t leave these concepts behind, but expands upon them, explaining what comes AFTER all of those things.
Overall, I would give the lyrics for this album a 9, and the album itself an 8. Granted, I have further listening to do – but when it comes to music, good lyrics are important to me. Paramore hits the mark with their confessional, blunt lyrics on this one, which I love. As far as the album itself, I can appreciate how they’ve included a variety of new, interesting instruments to create a distinct sound and overall vibe.
The songs sound as colorful as the album artwork and the two music videos Paramore has put out for “Hard Times” and “Told You So”, and if you’re looking for a unique sound from Paramore, this album delivers. If you’re ready to hear a new Paramore coming through your airwaves, “After Laughter” will impress.
If you’re into this album, then you might just love some of Metiza girl Kaylin Flam’s favorite tunes!