Originally published in the Hindu Sunday Magazine on May 26th, 2013
Paramore – Paramore
Atlantic Records/Fueled By Ramen
Here’s another clear winner from US-based label Fueled By Ramen, the same folks who signed on bands such as Jimmy Eat World, Fall Out Boy, Panic! At The Disco and led the emo-pop movement. Another constant winner they’ve had on their roster is Paramore, fronted by last-standing founding member and vocalist Hayley Williams. Their fourth studio album, Paramore, has been widely interpreted (just in its title) as a statement by Williams to her former bandmates and founding members Josh and Zac Farro about the band’s current standing.
More importantly, the album title is to reinforce to fans that this is still the same punk-pop Paramore who’ve had the catchiest hits in recent memory, including songs like ‘CrushCrushCrush’ and ‘Decode’. On this album, though, they also move very far away from that pop-punk identity, into something brilliantly diverse. Paramore is 17 tracks long, but the band makes you stick through all of them, even the cabaret-esque interludes.
Teenage obsessions (‘Fast in my Car’), free-wheeling enjoyment (‘Ain’t It Fun’), and heartbreaks (‘Hate To See Your Heart Break’) are all the cards Williams is dealing, lyrical themes not too different from their previous efforts. Of course, it’s not about growing up for Paramore. It’s about reacting in the same way they always have, with a youthful and often headstrong attitude, on songs like the pop anthem ‘Grow Up’ and when they pull off a dreamy alt rock number on ‘Part II’.
Then there’s the very sweet part of them that ensures they cover both ends of the emo music spectrum. ‘Still Into You’ is that classic love song for everyone who’s still together, or at least still wants to be together. They close on an amazing note, probably the strongest point of diversity in a post-rock, dream pop mashup called ‘Future’ which sways between yet another thing Williams has to say to her former bandmates and her own lessons learnt. She goes from “I’m writing the future/ I’m writing it out, loud/ We don’t talk about the past” to telling herself to “think of a new life/And don’t get lost in the memories/ Keep your eyes on a new prize.”
And with that, Paramore certainly are keeping their eyes on a new prize, with strong songwriting and proving they can go beyond the usual sound spectrum of four-chord riffs and cheesy lyrics.