For their fifth studio album Paramore are taking a new approach musically and you may complain about how they’ve “sold out” or are “no longer themselves” but you can’t deny that this collection of pop-rock tracks are insanely good. Yes, they may not be that angsty pop-punk band you fell in love with when you were in your early teens but guess what, people grow up. And that is exactly what has happened with this band. They have matured, grown as artists and are experimenting with different sounds that aren’t straying too far away from their original roots. They still hold onto their emotional, reflective and angsty lyrics that will become social media quotes for the next year and have you relating like there is no tomorrow. Album opener “Hard Times” is probably the strangest track on the album and why it was the lead single still confuses me. But it introduces this 80’s pop/rock sound that is best described as Blondie and The Madness’ love child. It’s wacky but it works. “Told You So” takes off where the last album finished with the additions of synths and is probably the closest you will get to “Classic Paramore”. However it is “Rose Coloured Boy” that really first grabs my attention with its vocal intro of Williams yelling “Low-key, no pressure, just hang with me and my weather” along with this heavily driven synth beat that doesn’t sound like it belongs in 2017. But that is it’s appeal. It’s super catchy and launches this big relatable chorus that has you wanting to run around throwing fists in the air yelling “Just let me cry a little bit longer. I ain’t gon’ smile if I don’t want to. Hey man, we all can’t be like you. I wish we were all rose-colored too”. This structure is then replicated with other album highlights “Fake Happy” and “Grudges” which will make your inner angsty self happy. On “Forgiveness” they introduce a groovy bass sound that instantly reminded me of Haim along with their dreamy harmonies. This stripped back sound then gets reworked on “Pool” where they add some synths that will have you dreaming about summer. “Caught In The Middle” and “Idle Worship” are fun songs that will excel in their live show but it’s “No Friend” which confuses me why it was actually included.
It can’t be a Paramore album without an emotional ballad that has you wanting to tear out your heart and have a little sob so luckily they give you two. “26” is a dreamy ballad which is about not losing hope and remaining a dreamer. The production is really simple and beautiful with the end of the song sounding like a dreamy Disney movie soundtrack. But it was “Tell Me How” which really played with my emotions. Maybe I can just relate with the lyrics a bit too much or Williams just tells the story perfectly of losing someone you truly loved. “I can’t call you a strange but I can’t call you. I know you think that I erased you. You may hate me but I can’t hate you and I wont replace you”. It was a perfect and beautiful way of closing the brief 12 track record. After a first listen you may be confused of the direction they are going towards but once you have a second listen I promise that you will be falling in love. It’s a record that you need to dive right in and properly listen to the lyrics and get lost in the underlining emotion. Not everyone is going to agree but this is one of Paramore’s best records. That is all.