Paramore is almost a decade old! Over the last nine years, the band has released four awesome albums. The most recent, 'Paramore,' arrived in April through Fueled By Ramen, the same label the band has been with since the beginning.
But not everything is the same: this is the first album without co-founders Zac and Josh Farro. Now, Paramore is founder/vocalist Hayley Williams, bassist Jeremy Davis, and guitarist Taylor York. (Ilan Rubin, who has worked with Angels & Airwaves and Nine Inch Nails, played drums on the new album.)
While some may be sad to see the band split apart, and the new album is riddled with traces of this split, 'Paramore' is arguably Paramore's second best full-length so far. (The best is 'All We Know Is Falling,' right?) It is a huge, diverse, fun, rocking pop album. But are any of new songs among the band's best? Let's see...
This is the last song on 2013's self-titled Paramore album, the first by the band since co-founding members Josh and Zac Farro left. The whole album is defiant, and about moving on from the past, but this tune especially drives that point home. Clocking in at nearly eight minutes, it is Paramore's longest song EVER.
It starts slow, with some delicate strings and acoustic strumming and drum stick taps. But then it slams in with one of Paramore's heaviest moments EVER. The gigantic breakdown is a bit shoegaze, a bit post-rock, with swirling, feedbacking, distorted guitars. It gives the new band a chance to show how much it can shred and to totally obliterate the past. Welcome to the Paramore of the 'Future' people.
4. 'The Only Exception'
This is the best Paramore slow jam. It was the third single from the band's third album, 'Brand New Eyes' (2009), and it was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals category. It did not win, but maybe it should have, because it was (and is) a whole lot better than the song that won that year: Train's 'Hey, Soul Sister.'
The delicate, acoustic vibe was a bit un-Paramore-y at the time, sounding more like Coldplay-then, and maybe Taylor Swift-now. It was about how frustrating love can be. But it was also about forgiveness and forgetting and the importance of not turning cold forever after failing at love. Make an exception; believe again.
3. 'Brick By Boring Brick'
On this second single from 'Brand New Eyes,' Hayley flipped fairytale narratives into a harsh reality check. Paramore was always a band that leaned to the dark side, but this was a radically dark moment. "Go get the shovel," commanded Hayley. Then she buried the princess' castle. Then the wolf blew down her heart.
"Well you build up a world of magic," she sang. "Because your real life is tragic." So Hayley turned the magic world into a tragic one in order to return us to the really real tragic world? Thanks, Hayley. (Well, at least we are no longer trapped in the emo-matrix.)
2. 'Misery Business'
Hayley and her boys came out thrashing on this frantic lead single from album number two: 'Riot!' The high-energy tune was about love getting all ripped up by a sinister outside force and then put back together. Phew!
The searing riff earned the song a spot on guitar shredder video games 'Guitar Hero World Tour' and 'Rock Band 3.' The chorus, like those in the best Paramore songs, was massive and anthemic and simply irresistable. The song's mood was super-tense; it felt throughout as if everyone involved was breathlessly running off a cliff.
But, in the end, Hayley became a hero and destroyed the misery business. "It just feels so good," she sang. Hayley hates misery (sometimes).
This was the second single from Paramore's debut album, 'All We Know Is Falling' (2005). It was a mighty rock tune with a universal message and a catchy hook: this is what Paramore does best.
"I've seen love die way too many times when it deserved to be alive," sang Hayley. So true. The music was dynamic and momentous. It set the tone for the band's non-stop state of tragic, rollercoaster romance emergency that we have all been (happily) riding ever since. Let's ride!