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Thursday, October 06, 2016

Paramore -- Paramore


Paramore are too young for me. My millennial wife asked me to buy her their second album, Riot!, shortly after it was released, and I did, and I wasn't impressed. A year later, my millennial wife asked me to buy her the Twilight soundtrack. More Paramore. The next year (2009), I streamed their then newest album, Brand New Eyes, and was even less impressed than before, except for with the closing track, "All I Wanted."

At about this point, I realized something: I love Hayley Williams' powerful voice. In fact, Williams is one of my favorite vocalists. Her surprise duet with The Chariot on "Then Came to Kill," is one of my favorite guest spots ever. However, outside of a very small handful of tracks, I didn't care for any of the music Williams' own band made.
After the release of Brand New Eyes, Paramore underwent some rather intense personal stress, and bled out its two co-founding members, the Farro brothers. Left without its drummer and presumably its chief songwriter/guitarist, Paramore seemed to be done for. I then wished that Williams would move on to a new musical endeavor I found more interesting, so that I could finally enjoy her voice free of music I did not enjoy. She did, and the name of that endeavor is Paramore.
Paramore's self-titled album features none of the personality-free, ready-for-radio punk pop of the band's previous work. Rather ironically, this actually makes Paramore far more ready for radio. With the band whittled to a trio, and electrifying guest drummer, Ilan Rubin, ready to show off his chops,  Paramore fires off great song after great song, adhering to no single genre other than "good music," a genre that surprisingly few bands ever fully explore. Paramore's music sounds unique, still at times containing some of the driving sound of the band's past, and all of the energy, but with a virtuoso polish and a newfound skill in songwriting diversity. There's a definite 80's influence here, be it the keyboards,  slap-bass, or rhythms, but more than anything, this sounds like a real live band--singer, guitar, bass, and drums--jamming in perfect sync. This is enhanced by a great album flow and song sequencing, with the album starting off bright and energetic, but going to a darker, introspective place in the middle, before coming out even brighter than before. Also, the closer is eight minutes long, and mostly music, an optimistic, beautiful skyscraper of sound reaching up to space, and a truly unexpected touch. The band's hard work is on full display here, and the success this album has achieved is well-earned and deserved.
I should also mention the lyrics, which are less about stealing boyfriends, and more about growing up and moving on, looking to the future with positivity and wonder.
Also, who knew the bass player was the most talented member of the band. Just listen to the way he carries the Grammy-winning "Ain't It Fun," on his back. Man, am I looking forward to...what's that?
He just left the band?

2013 Fueled by Ramen/Warner Bros.
1. Fast in My Car 3:42
2. Now 4:07
3. Grow Up 3:50
4. Daydreaming 4:31
5. Interlude: Moving On 1:30
6. Ain't It Fun 4:56
7. Part II 4:41
8. Last Hope 5:09
9. Still Into You 3:36
10. Anklebiters 2:17
11. Interlude: Holiday 1:09
12. Proof 3:15
13. Hate to See Your Heart Break 5:09
14. (One of Those) Crazy Girls 3:32
15. Interlude: I'm Not Angry Anymore 0:52
16. Be Alone 3:40
17. Future 7:52


Azure Ides-Grey said...

I found this album at HMV for $10 in the summer and was unsure of it first listen around, but as I've heard some of the songs again, it's got some really amazing stuff. I dare lose any hipster credentials I might have had, but I think the single "Ain't it Fun" is the best. I hadn't actually noticed the bass until you mentioned it, but it's tasty. I like that marimba or whatever. And Hayley Williams' vocals - wow. Oh, and the choir. What a powerhouse of a song.

Speaking of skyscraper sounds, "Part II" reminds me of M83, musically speaking.

Nicholas said...

M83: Yes! Didn't notice it before, but the musical bridge on "Part II" sounds a lot like some of the faster-paced instrumentals on Hurry Up, We're Dreaming. Nice catch!