There are some bands that make a clear progression and grow with each album and musical offering they produce; Paramore are certainly one of those bands.
Since their fairly under-the-radar appearance as new teen-pop-emo’s with 2005’s All We Know, they’ve continued to grow as a band and make their place in the rock world known. It’s easy to understand why All We Know might have not been as iconic as other first albums by other artists when you realise that Williams was a mere 17 at the time of recording. Their follow up sophomore album Riot! (2007), however, was something altogether different. With catchy melodies and instantly recognisable arrangements, Paramore settled into their sound much better with this offering, and their subsequent success certainly proves that a great deal can change in a couple of years.
However, Paramore have never been a band that have been afraid to express what has been going on behind the scenes, and that was certainly apparent in 2009’s Brand New Eyes, as the lead single from the album “Ignorance” made little effort to hide the controversy and quarrelling that had been occurring between band mates. This was a theme repeated throughout several of the album’s 11 tracks.
With their latest, self titled album, within the first 15 minutes you can tell that this is a new band. Refreshed and ready to start over, but not letting go of what they’ve learnt. Williams and York have certainly taken on board the experiences of the last 3 years and put all of this into the lyrical musings which shine through in the songs within this album. You also get a sense that the Farro brothers may have had a point that Williams was taking much more control of the band and making it her thing, though I sincerely doubt that this is for the worse if Paramore is anything to go by, paving the way for a new Paramore. Titles such as “Now” (the lead single from the album) “Grow Up” and “Anklebiters” do little to hide that there’s probably some bitterness behind the Josh and Zac’s departure, but with this comes a really fun, tongue in cheek feel to the album which, at points incorporates some reggae/ska and even gospel elements. The album feels funky, which I quite like.
Keeping true to the Paramore formula, though, the album is not all out energy. “Part II” (which is essentially a re-written ‘follow up’ to “Let the Flames Begin“) and “Last Hope” seem more laid back and serious to the majority of the uptempo and fun album, while the lullabye-esque “Hate to See Your Heart Break” almost sounds country, which seems only appropriate. The three interludes offer something interesting to the album and seem to reflect progression, breaking it up into chapters of ‘lessons learnt’. The aptly named “Future” is almost reminiscent of Muse as a closing track.
Those who are die hard Paramore fans may have difficulty in accepting this ‘new’ sound, but I implore you to take a listen. This certainly is not a comeback album. What it is, is a regeneration from a band that’s undergone a lot of change since they first began. With that, comes a fuller, fun and new sound.
After all, we all have to grow up sometimes.
Paramore is available now.