Overall Score: 7/10 Hits: 8/10 Bravery: 8/10 Consistency: 6/10 Pros: Stand Out Singles | Trying New Things | Variety Cons: Disappointing Slower Songs | Tails Off Somewhat
Album: Paramore (Self Titled)
Release Date: 8th April 2013
Record Label: Fueled By Ramen
For Fans Of: We Are The In Crowd, Kelly Clarkson, New Found Glory, Avril Lavigne, You Me At Six
This is the album a lot of people thought wouldn’t happen. Paramore were supposed to implode when their numbers reduced from five to three, leaving Hayley Williams to go on to the inevitable solo career. Instead, they stayed together and released an album that hit number one in both the UK and US album charts.
On this, their fourth full length album and the first recorded since the somewhat acrimonous departure of the aforementioned Farrow brothers, Paramore’s trio of remaining members – Hayley Williams, Taylor York and Jeremy Davis, have decided to flex their musical muscle and expand their horizons by experimenting, whilst largely keeping to their core pop punk sound in the process.
Some of these experiments are far more successful than others; There are touches of the sound of No Doubt, most notably in the electro flavoured “Now” and the spiky “Grow Up”, and both of these work wonderfully well. Ain’t It Fun is rather, well, fun, as it channels the spirit of motown and the gospel choir section would get all but the most grumpy of listeners smiling and clapping along. A couple of the more traditional “Paramore” sounding songs are also really enjoyable – the album opening Fast In My Car is probably destined to open Paramore shows for the near future while the album’s stand out track, Still Into You is one of the finest high tempo pop rock love songs of the Century. It is also in this writer’s opinion the best song they’ve ever written (and has been a fixture in the UK top forty singles charts since it’s release).
On the flip side, some of the slower moments (which on previous album Brand New Eyes were particularly strong) let the side down somewhat. The Jack Johnson-esque trio of Movin On, Holiday & I’m Not Angry Anymore are unwelcome breathers at the points of the album where they occur and frankly unnecessary as they kill the moment somewhat rather than providing a pleasant respite. The spirit of Part II in reviving the fantastic Let The Flames Begin from Riot is in the right place but the execution could have been better and Last Hope is one of those songs that never truly gets going. The album does end on a very interesting note with Paramore’s longest ever song “Future” veering into full blown ambient territory of the likes of Pelican and Red Sparowes – not exactly a move one would see coming. It’d be very interesting to see if they ever do anything like Future again.
It is a fair assessment that the whole of this album is unlikely to please many people in it’s entirety, a lot of people will find things to enjoy throughout the album whether they are longtime hardcore Paramore fans or those picking the band up for the first time with this album. They have not rested on their laurels and they are to be commended for trying new things, and in doing so they have made an album that is highly entertaining for the most part. Definitely give it a look.