Release Date: Apr 9, 2013
Record label: Atlantic
Genre(s): Electronic, Pop/Rock
"If I have to I'm gonna leave you behind," Hayley Williams sings on "Grow Up," from the first Paramore album since 2009. The singer has successfully powered through a very public, extremely not-nice split with the band's co-founders, Josh and Zac Farro (she even got a Grammy nomination for her appearance on B.o.B's 2010 single "Airplanes"). Paramore 2.0 maintain their signature post-emo pop-metal gusto (see the blazing "Be Alone") and added a Stefani-Clarkson elasticity that at times make this feel like a solo debut – from the ukulele kiss-off "Interlude: Holiday" to the New Wave-y "Part II" to the soul-powered "Ain't It Fun." Williams rocks each new look like an I-will-survive warrior priestess.
The record's collaborative foundation crackles on every track, but Hayley Williams, a ballsy, extroverted frontwoman with a voice big enough to stop time, proves unequivocally to be the cunning talent of the band, no matter how vital York and Davis may be. Whether she is belting out a do-or-die alt-rock anthem like "Now" or cooing coyly on three ukulele-backed "Interludes," Williams imbues each song with a robust charisma and relentlessly positive attitude. While longtime Paramore fans will recognize the driving, no-holds-barred attack of cuts like "Daydreaming," "Anklebiters," and "Part II," the album also soars on the band's newfound use of keyboards, programming, and York's often thickly layered, heavily effected guitar.
Ah, 2005: When MySpace was the most relevant social network; Pierce Brosnan was still James Bond; and a pair of scrappy underdog bands, Paramore and Fall Out Boy, were crossing paths on the annual roaming youth-aggression rock carnival known as the Vans Warped Tour. At the time, FOB were already established hitmakers, buoyed by the massive crossover success of ”Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down”; the lesser-known Paramore — led by a then-16-year-old Tennessee spitfire named Hayley Williams — had just released their debut and hadn’t made it to the main stage yet, but they would be there soon. Eight years, a handful of platinum smashes, and a thousand pop-radio micro-trends later, both bands are back in decidedly updated iterations: FOB’s Save Rock and Roll is out April 16, and Paramore’s Paramore was released April 9.
Paramore, as a band and as individuals, might be on that divide between late adolescence and adulthood. This incarnation of the band has the success of a few good albums behind them but also has to deal with two of its founding members splitting off. It’s the era when you do things like move away, lose friends, get a real job, and all that fun. With the release of its self-titled album, Paramore has captured both maturity and youthful vitality to create its best record yet.
Fourth album from the stadium-packing Tennessee band, who went from five members to three in an acrimonious split a couple of years ago, and nearly called it a day. Instead, the remaining members kept at it, recruiting a new producer to hone their pop-shaped ambitions (Justin Meldal-Johnsen, who pulled a similar trick with Tegan and Sara's Heartthrob earlier this year). Switching it up may have been a risk, but it pays off.
“Some of us have to grow up sometimes/If I have to I’m going to leave you behind”, sings Hayley Williams on ‘Grow Up’. The line is presumably aimed at Josh and Zac Farro, her former bandmates who quit the group in less than friendly terms in 2010, but it also signals a change in Paramore’s sound. Long favoured by door-slamming, angled-fringe emo kids, the Tennessee band have decided with this self-titled fourth album on a shinier and poppier direction.
This symbolically self-titled album is Paramore’s fourth offering, but more importantly it’s the first record from the new line-up after tensions and good old sibling rivalry led to the departure of Josh and Zack Farro two years ago. Drafting in Ilan Rubin, of Nine Inch Nails and Lostprophets fame, to take up the sticks has undoubtedly changed the sound; furthermore the overall line-up shuffle has seen a shift in dynamics as regards songwriting, with Hayley Williams taking much more of a firm grasp on proceedings. Fast In My Car immediately throws the limelight on Rubin, kicking off with a confident if not slightly poppy beat turned right up.
“...the world doesn't need another band! Nuh-uh-uh-oh! ...I can’t believe we almost hung it up! Wuh-wuh-woah! We're just getting started!” This was the message Paramore left zingin’ in our ears last time around. Their glorious, near-perfect, career-catapulting third album brand new eyes defied lazy preconceptions - and then some - that they were 'just another mallrat-friendly punk-pop-loving lamestream emo-rock band'. And then, after taking over the radio-waves, hooking up with the super-massive Twilight movie franchise, and a hugely successful tour of the world's arenas^ came news that two members were leaving the band.
The commercial emo that has earned Tennessee's Paramore platinum sales is still present on their fourth album, as are the unremarkable ballads, but there's also a new willingness to try other genres. The results are mixed: Ain't It Fun's gospel coda does it no favours; Now opens like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs before inane lyrics hobble the chorus; Future builds from a mumbled intro to gorgeous Explosions in the Sky-style post-rock. Perhaps more tellingly, there's much that sounds like No Doubt shortly before Gwen Stefani outgrew them and became a major solo star, which is what you rather suspect lead singer Hayley Williams's record company has in mind for her.
In December 2010, two of Paramore’s founding members left the Tennessee-based pop-punk band in a move that was officially reported as an amicable split. But former lead guitarist Josh Farro blogged his own version of the story, telling tales of a band “riding on the coattails of [frontwoman] ‘Hayley’s dream'”, his relationship and split with said singer, and spats over biblical representations in the band’s lyrics (the post was signed “All of the glory be to God, Josh and Zac”). Despite, and due to the drama, Paramore presses on as the 24-year-old Williams returns with guitarist Taylor York and Jeremy Davis on bass.
Review Summary: This is some fucking foolishness right here.What is it about Paramore that makes music critics forget how to write? In the Rolling Stone review for this album, the terms “emo-metal,” “post-emo,” and “pop-metal” are all used, and the entire review is only three sentences long. One could – and maybe should – argue that nobody at Rolling Stone knows how to write about music anymore, but even they are rarely that far off-base. But they’re not the only ones to do so.
It’s not a huge secret regarding what Paramore went through in the past few years: The Farro brothers, guitarist Josh and drummer Zac, quit the band in 2010, taking with them the primary source of Paramore’s songwriting. An intense creative rebuilding period followed, eventually resulting in what you hear on Paramore, the band’s fourth album, a sprawling, 17-song, 64-minute monster that is without a doubt the finest music these three artists—vocalist Hayley Williams, guitarist Taylor York and bassist Jeremy Davis—have ever made. The album begins with “Fast In My Car,” a sultry electro-rock number with a strong ’90s guitar-rock vibe—a feeling that pops up repeatedly on Paramore.
PARAMORE “Paramore” (Fueled by Ramen) Before the songs make the point, the package does. Taking the self-titled “Paramore” CD out of the case reveals Hayley Williams — Paramore’s orange-haired, 24-year-old singer and main songwriter — wearing a denim jacket that reads “Grow Up.” The band sets out to do exactly that on “Paramore,” its fourth studio album and its first since a bitter fissure split it. “Brand New Eyes,” released in 2009, was Paramore’s second album to sell more than a half-million copies, with brash pop-punk songs in which Ms.
The last three years have been fairly turbulent for Paramore. Having lost two founding members and had their laundry aired in front of the world at the height of their popularity, most bands would’ve crumbled under the pressure. Not this band though, not this time.Slimming down to a three-piece, they were out to prove the haters wrong. Digging into a studio in Los Angeles with former Beck bassist and M83 producer Justin Meldal-Johnsen, they’ve spent the majority of the last eighteen months perfecting the follow-up to 2010’s ‘Brand New Eyes’.