Paramore have gone through a lot in the four years since their previous album and as a result they’ve got a lot to say – their self-titled 4th album is 17 tracks long and clocks in at over an hour in running length. After the departure of the Farro brothers, who were heavy players in the band’s songwriting process, the band lingered on the precipice of a break-up for a while back in 2010 but persisted and the result is an album full of twists, turns and surprises. Rest assured, this is still Paramore but this is a Paramore that’s got a hell of a new musical range to shout about.
‘Paramore’ is a battle between old and new. There are still some old, well-loved elements lurking: the band’s reputation for producing angsty, alt-rock, high-energy hits can be found on ‘Now’ and ‘Part II’ (a response to second album ‘Riot!’s track ‘Let The Flames Begin’), but you don’t have to look any further than album opener ‘Fast In My Car’ to see a maturity and a change in direction for the now-trio from Tennessee – Hayley Williams sings about the band’s struggle between its members within the first few lyrics of the album: “Been through the wringer a couple of times / I came out callous and cruel / and my two friends know this very well / ‘cause they went through it too.”
The album leaves no boundaries untested, experimenting with synth sounds on ‘Grow Up’ and ‘Daydreaming’, ukulele (yes, really) on interludes ‘Moving On’, ‘Holiday’ and ‘I’m Not Angry Anymore’, and even a gospel choir on ‘Ain’t It Fun’. Paramore have chucked in emo for a more streamlined, shinier, pop sound and it’s successful at being a refreshing change and a jab at adulthood – Paramore may have toured through their teenage years, but its members are now in their mid-twenties and beyond and, like it or not, it shows.
* This review was originally published on 11 April by Hi! Magazine. You can see all my reviews here: http://www.hihimag.com/author/rachelfinn/