Because two albums by bands I like came out this week, I’ve got two reviews coming for you. Here’s the first one! This is a review of Paramore‘s latest album, simply titled Paramore.
In case you’re unaware, Paramore are no longer who they use to be. What I mean by that is that the two Farro brothers who were founding members of the band left some time in late 2010. There was a lot of noise and fallout over the whole thing, culminating in a number of interviews and statements that were released by the brothers and the rest of the band at the time, where they expressed their feelings towards each other and opinions on what went wrong. It all got pretty messy and vicious, and really I don’t think the details matter to much. Suffice to say, it wasn’t a nice split; that’s all you really need to keep in mind when listening to this album, but maybe you even should avoid thinking about that (but I’ll get into that later).
Unsurprisingly, Paramore’s style and sound isn’t quite what it use to be either. This album, I feel, has a much more mellow, expressive and emotive quality to it than previous albums. On my first listen-through, this was a wholly negative thing to me. It just didn’t seem right. It wasn’t what I was use to or expecting to hear from Paramore. It’s not like they’ve never played songs like this before. No, it’s just that they were always sort of disguised in guitar riffs and throttling vocals, which I must admit were some of the things that drew me to Paramore’s music. Here, everything’s lay bare a bit more so that you can really feel and understand what’s going on. That’s not to say every song on this album is like Misguided Ghosts or The Only Exception (both of which I thoroughly dislike), however if these songs are what draw you to Paramore, I think you’ll like this album much more than All We Know Is Falling (their first album).
When I listened to it again, I tried to stop myself from thinking about this album as being or not being Paramore-ish, and focus on what I was hearing from it. And after listening to it a few more times, I’ve got to say, some of the songs really grew on me. I wouldn’t say I love each track, but I’ve warmed a little at least to every single one.
So, the rest of this review follows my usual album review format. I’ve written what previous song/s each track reminds me of (the album it comes from is in the brackets), and ranked it on this album, as well as writing a short comment about each track. Plus there’s a bit more of what I thought of the whole album at the bottom.
1.Fast In My Car
Reminds me of: Looking Up (Brand New Eyes)
Rank on this album: 5
Comments: Despite what I said before, this has quite a typical Paramore sound, but with less shrill guitar and more bass. It makes quite a few obvious hints at the split.
Reminds me of: Crushcrushcrush (Riot!), All We Know (All We Know Is Falling), Ignorance (Brand New Eyes) …although I don’t think any of them really are that similar…
Rank on this album: 4
Comments: The start of this reminds me of the other band who released an album I’m reviewing currently, Yeah Yeah Yeahs. It’s longer than you expect, and got stuck in my head something chronic.
Reminds me of: Fences (Riot!)
Rank on this album: 12
Comments: Spoiled mainly by the fact the main line/chorus is revealed very quickly, after only one short verse. Also this song says “some of us have to grow up sometimes” …er, don’t we all?
Reminds me of: Never Let This Go and Franklin(All We Know Is Falling)
Rank on this album: 13
Comments: This song really highlights the change in sound. There’s something about the split to be heard here if you want to listen for it.
5.Interlude: Moving On
Reminds me of: Misguided Ghosts (Brand New Eyes)
Rank on this album: 14
Comments: An interlude! A little acoustic ukulele ditty full of melancholy. Out of all the interludes, this one stands up best as a song of it own.
6.Ain’t It Fun
Reminds me of: Totally unlike anything else, but maybe a bit Feeling Sorry (Brand New Eyes) or Let The Flames Begin (Riot!)
Rank on this album: 10
Comments: Jazzy and upbeat track full of resentment. Towards the end it takes on a gospel feel with lots of backup singers wailing to high heaven.
Reminds me of: Conspiracy (All We Know Is Falling)
Rank on this album: 7
Comments: This song seems to reference a few of Paramore’s past songs, e.g. “fragile broken things ” from Let the Flames Begin, and “butterfly with punctured wings” from Brick By Boring Brick (this one isn’t a direct quote, but it’s similar). It’s similar but somehow not the same sound as their other stuff. It eventually goes into a chaotic guitar solo , which gives way to heavy drumming and a whole mix of other crazy sounds that seem to race around your speakers.
Reminds me of: We Are Broken and Let The Flames Begin (Riot!), My Heart (All We Know Is Falling)
Rank on this album: 11
Comments: Starts semi-acoustically, and eventually builds from a mellow and slow song to something really powerful. The lyrics are full of hopefulness. I hate the start, but I love where it gets to.
9.Still Into You
Reminds me of: All I Wanted (Brand New Eyes)
Rank on this album: 9
Comments: A sort of lovey dovey song. Classic Paramore feel.
Reminds me of: All We Know (All We Know Is Falling), That’s what You Get (Riot!), Ignorance(Brand New Eyes) , but faster paced
Rank on this album: 1
Comments: Angry and rebellious with a message. Odd use of the word “anklebiter” though, not referring to kids but people clawing at your success. A bit short but fantastic.
Reminds me of: Misguided Ghosts (Brand New Eyes)
Rank on this album: 16
Comments: Another interlude! It has the same feel as the other one. It mentions living on ramen to save money, which I thought was funny.
Reminds me of: Whoa (All We Know Is Falling), Fences (Riot!), Where the Lines Overlap (Brand New Eyes)
Rank on this album: 3
Comments: Strong and empowered, like you expect from Paramore. It has a 90s girl-group pop section, which is sort of corny but awesome.
13.Hate To See Your Heart Break
Reminds me of: When It Rains (Riot!), Misguided Ghosts (Brand New Eyes)
Rank on this album: 15
Comments: Almost like a lullaby. For some reason, I identify Paramore with violins, so it’s appropriate that they appear in this song.
14.(One Of Those) Crazy Girls
Reminds me of: Playing God (Brand New Eyes)but not really. What it really reminds me of is Teenager in Love by Dion & The Belmonts (or the cover by The Red Hot Chilli Peppers).
Rank on this album: 2
Comments: It sounds like this is just a cover by Paramore. It toaly doesn’t sound like them. It’s about a crazy stalker, a bit like Every Breath You Take. It’s got a ice-cream pop feel with the chord progression from the 60’s and classic rock drum beat.
15.Interlude: I’m Not Angry Anymore
Reminds me of: Misguided Ghosts (Brand New Eyes)
Rank on this album: 17
Comments: Another interlude! This one seems to highlight the way the interludes segment the album.
16. Be Alone
Reminds me of: I Caught Myself (Twilight Soundtrack), All I Wanted (Brand New Eyes)
Rank on this album: 6
Comments: Has the Paramore feel, with a few strange effects scattered throughout.
Reminds me of: slightly Misery Business (Riot!), The Only Exception (Brand New Eyes), but really it’s totally different
Rank on this album: 8
Comments: Seven minutes long!! Starts very quietly with talking sounds, then percussion like someone walking on gravel. There’s not that much singing it, so it’s almost instrumental. It has a fairly sudden build halfway, then fades to nothing so you think it’s over then comes back. The end is like slowed down thrash metal. It really seems to says “We’re different now!”
So, the split…If you listen to this album thinking about the Farro brothers leaving, and all the bad blood they left behind, you WILL feel an overbearing presence and commentary about what happened being played out on nearly every single track. My suggestion: I know it’s hard, but try to just forget about it a bit. Don’t read all the articles you can find about Hayley’s mental state and how she reacted etc. because they’ll just infect you with this mind bug, looking for the connections with what she says on every track. It’s more annoying than it is insightful, and makes the whole album sound boring and repetitive.
Like I said before, this album has a very different feel and sound and style to previous Paramore albums. While there are common threads, like the amount of crowd-singing, there re also a lot of new things, like all the funny little sound effects and noises that are sprinkled throughout most of the songs. You don’t notice them at first because they’re common in music generally, but no particularly for Paramore. Future is a bit of a magnum opus of this album, showing off a lot of the cool little sounds and stuff they’ve gotten into.
They’ve included, not one, not two, but three interludes which lots of artists seem to be doing on their albums now for some reason. They sound like they’re straight out of Honolulu, and they serve to sort of segment the album into moods, but not super well defined ones.
As you can see, there are a lot of songs on this album. It’s pretty good bang for your buck really.
Overall, while I didn’t like this album much when I first heard it, after listening it to it a few time (a lot actually) it’s grown on me, and played over and over in my head so much. I actually like some of the songs on this album more than any of their other songs on all their other albums. Maybe that’ll die away in a week, but I don’t think so.
So, have you listened to Paramore’s new album “Paramore” yet? What did you think? Did it live up to your expectations? Have I said anything you disagree with? Tell me & everyone else who passes through here what you think in the comment below.
To Infinity and Beyond,