Paramore is back with its fifth album, After Laughter. It is the follow up of the self-titled album Paramore from 2013. This is also the first album since the departure of Jeremy Davis and return of Zac Farro.
The first song off the album, Hard Times, has given the fans a glimpse into the departure from their traditional sound. If you are a fan of Paramore who loved the alt-rock and pop punk sound, this album might not be for you.
The band no longer have that sound that made them famous. Gone is the classic mix of rock, pop and punk and is instead replaced by a “new-wave” and synth pop sound. The music is far more upbeat and could have well been released in the 1980’s. I have to applaud the band’s determination to try new sounds, however it is such a big departure with no songs on the album sounding like a traditional Paramore song it is a step too far for me.
This is their first album where I can honestly say I will not be playing it again in the future and I hope they return to their roots.
Despite the change in genre the real standout element in this album is the lyrical content and vocals of Hayley Williams. Despite its upbeat sound the album has a theme of exhaustion, depression and bitterness. This battle between the upbeat musical element of the songs and dark lyrics really demonstrates the bands increasing maturity and vision writing songs.
Despite the change in sound, the vocals of Hayley Williams once again sets this album apart. She has fantastic ability few singers have to bring the emotional content and storytelling of a song to the fore despite its upbeat nature.
I would rate his album two out of five stars. I would love to give it a higher rating but as a fan of Paramore’s previous efforts, this album is just not to my taste. The new sound just grates on me personally and is too much of a departure from previous albums. When looking at the album focusing on the lyrics this album is far better than two stars. Equally the guts it has taken a band near splitting to find a totally new sound is an amazing achievement. Going forward I hope the next Paramore album returns to the sound and feel of their self titled album.