The lyrics of the opening track “Fast In My Car” on Paramore’s self-titled album tells us all exactly how hard it’s been for the band since the departure of primary songwriter Josh Farro and his drummer brother Zac (“been through the ringer a couple times, I came out callous and cruel, and my two friends know this very well, because they went through it too.”) However, what is evident is that despite all the drama, sticking it out has proven to be the best thing for Hayley Williams, Taylor York and Jeremy Davis.
Hidden away for much of last year – they only played a handful of shows including Reading and Leeds Fest – the band began the process of finding their way once more and wrote their fourth album with Justin Medal-Johnsen (Neon Trees, M83) who challenged the band to write their best album to date. With no boundaries left to restrict them, the three had to find a new way of writing together, that also meant York had a frontal role in writing which he never had before. A lot of hard work and seventeen songs later the album Paramore was born and it seemed the band too were reborn a more matured, comfortable and tight knit trio.
Not only will Paramore impress old fans but the album, which experiments with new sounds and genres, is sure to increase the already overwhelmingly large fan base with its eclectic range of songs. “Fast In My Car” is amongst others such as “Be Alone” and “Anklebiters” that mix the familiarity of previous Paramore releases with new electro rock that isn’t a far cry from the type of rock music the 90’s churned out, whilst tracks like the three interludes, “Moving On” “Holiday” and “I’m Not Angry Anymore,” show an entirely new side to the band as they dabble with a ukulele, producing short and sweet folk music. A further foray into the unknown includes the soulful “Ain’t It Fun” which sees the band increase in size when a gospel choir joins them and eventually further still as every single person who hears this song will no doubt sing along with them.
The years break from the intense touring that Paramore are known for allowed them more time with their loved ones which leaked its way into the album with poppy love songs like “Still Into You” and “Proof” and at the same time brought the band themselves closer together. Williams has said that slow ballad “Hate To See Your Heart Break” was written about York and despite the title, this song is likely to break your heart. Beautifully intricate guitaring, orchestral music that isn’t overpowering and luscious raw vocals make this song an instant classic that will find audiences of all ages enjoying. Not content with keeping the heartbreak to a minimum, the three wrote “Part II” as, well, a part two to “Let The Flames Begin” from their second album RIOT! which is a firm fan favourite, particularly at live shows. Starting off mellow and then exploding on the chorus the song is epic, but maybe not as much as the albums closing track “Future” which is an outstanding display of York and Davis’ musical ability. Acoustic and simplistic, the song starts with Williams’ vocals softly singing us to a build up of intense guitaring that goes on impressively for five minutes with crashing drums, a false end and increasing volume.
Paramore is a gallant effort from the incredibly talented band that will see them climb higher and higher to music stardom. Vocally and musically they have improved and progressed dramatically to create a truly gorgeous album that the band should be proud of. It holds darkness and moments of sheer genius but above all it shines with unfettered hope.