“Paramore” – Paramore

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The first time I saw Paramore live, they were doing an early set at the V Festival in Baltimore, supporting their album, Riot. My sister and I couldn’t stop laughing at them and how they choreographed their head bangs and all had matching hair. The funniest part was when they announced they would be playing a “slow song,” since we thought all their songs were relatively slow and boring as they each had a breakdown-ish part. Fast forward a few years and I would be shelling out almost  a hundred bucks to see them with a girl who I wanted to date at the time. That wasn’t the only reason I liked them though (well, maybe it initially was…). They had just released their third album, and I listened to it four times in a row in one night, and by the second play through, I was a Paramore fan. This was the last tour they would do before the founding Farro brothers – Zac and Josh, who play drums and guitar, respectively – would leave the band in an extremely controversial display of angst and emotion. In brevity, I was dismayed when they released their next single because you could seriously hear the departure of the brothers in their work. It simply lacked a je ne sais quoi prevalent in the band’s former work. I’ve indulged my memories far more than you’ve probably cared to read and far less than I’ve felt like, but I feel you should know this:

I am going into this review with a very closed mind. That being said, I will now listen…

The first track, “Fast In My Car,” sounds very poppy, but it’s pretty good nonetheless. It reminds me of No Doubt or later career Weezer. I’m a sucker for 90s pop rock, so the album started things off in a nice way for me. Definitely different from what I was expecting. The second track, “Now,” is the first single for this record. I’m not a fan at all; Hayley’s voice sounds whiny and overproduced, and I don’t like the style of the track. It’s just shrill to my ears and bad rock music. I digress; the next track sounds very poppy also and talks about leaving things behind, moving on, and “Growing Up.” I feel like it’s about Hayley’s core fans who only like her band for their early emo work and will likely abandon them after this release. Her reaction is basically that she needs to do this for herself, not them. The ending of the song hearkens my ears to The Postal Service, which is pretty cool. The following song, “Daydreaming,” starts off with a very Cranberries-esque sound, and I overall enjoy this song a lot. The next song also deals with “Moving On,” and I’m sensing a theme to this album. It’s a really good song, yet the album continues on with a pop style, and I must confess the whole experience began to feel rote at this point. I felt like it was homework listening to parts of this record; the rock aspect of Paramore has certainly fled this album. The bass truly shines though. One of the high points of the record was the sequel to one of their songs off Riot (“Let The Flames Begin”), which they eloquently titled “Part II.” “Last Hope” is another Cranberries-inspired jam that I enjoyed. “Still Into You” is  a garbage pop song and devalues the album a few notches for being included on it. It also reminds me a bit of No Doubt though, which is nice. “Anklebiters” started with feedback and loud drums, so I was surprised when it turned really poppy. But it is by no means bad. The next couple of tracks echo earlier ones, and I had to take a break from listening at this point. The album ends with “Future,” a lengthy jam, and I’m unsure whether the fade out/in was a nod to The Smiths, a mastering error, or just experimentation, but I didn’t find it prudent.

The overarching theme of this record to me is that change can be an awesome thing if you accept it, and not to stay in the past. Definitely a good message, and I’m not sure if it’s one I’ve fully gotten in my own life, which is probably why this history major wasn’t too fond of this album on the whole. Despite containing many strong parts (especially the interludes), I found its sugary pop moments and long length too much for me.

-Matthew Koerner

Recommended Jams: Daydreaming, Hate To See Your Heart Break, Anklebiters

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