Album: "After Laughter" by Paramore
Release Date: May 12
Label: Atlantic Recording Corporation
Duration: 42 minutes
Having been a Paramore fan since their release of “All We Know is Falling” in 2005, I expected nothing but the best from this previously punk rock band. Paramore released their newest album “After Laughter” on May 12. After listening to it the first time, I must say, I was disappointed. As someone who is a not-so-secret, rock music enthusiast, their switch from jamming instrumentals to synthesizer pop was quite a surprise. However, after having gotten over the initial shock of Paramore’s new sound, the second listening of the album proved to be not as bad as I originally thought. My first reaction when hearing their single “Hard Times” was a series of internal questions regarding whether I was listening to the correct band that was so beloved by myself and, I assume, many others like me. The song was laced with 1980s influences that reminded me of something that I may hear on “The Goonies” soundtrack next to Cyndi Lauper’s single, “Good Enough.” “Rose-Colored Boy” had the same '80s feel that appropriately lead into the catchy melody of “Told You So,” which, I admit, had my feet tapping and head bobbing.
The album overall had a summertime feel until the song “Forgiveness.” Here, I began to see hints of the old angst Hayley Williams used to portray in her lyrics on albums prior to this one. “Fake Happy” and “26” have to be my two favorite songs on the entire album. The lyrics for each are incredibly transparent and reflect the inner struggles of the singer as she acknowledges the hard realities of getting older. “Idle Worship” was the closest to resemble the genre Paramore previously set for themselves in the early 2000s save some computerized sound effects.
I was left wanting more with “Pool” and “Grudges.” Both songs seemed like they were in-the-works collaborations with the band Hanson — rather than the original workings of a band adored by the label Fueled by Ramen. Paramore attempted to bring back the summertime sound with “Caught in the Middle” with its simple lyrics and Caribbean inspirations. I was flooded was confusion listening to the next song, “No Friend.” While the instrumentals were repetitive, and the vocals were not of Williams. In fact, they were barely comprehensible. After looking up the lyrics to understand the song in its entirety, I concluded that it was simply a furthering of the message produced by “Idle Worship.” Despite its dissimilarity to the rest of the album, I respected the band’s attempt to step outside the box.
“After Laughter” ended with a poetic track called “Tell Me How.” The song was lyrically inclined and kept me engaged throughout each verse. It reflects a different tone than the one projected at the beginning, but it was overall successful. It was inevitable that Paramore’s sound would change considering the only remaining members of the original, 4-piece Paramore clan are singer, Williams, and drummer, Zac Farro. As much as I believe the “After Laughter” album to be a fruitful work, there will always be a piece of me waiting to hear back from the red-haired Hayley that voiced the soundtrack to my teenage years.