Four years in between albums, along with break-up rumors followed by a very nasty public split with founding band members is usually the kiss of death in a fickle music industry. Radio will forget about you. Fans will grow impatient and move on. The next album without the original band members will probably suck and record executives will drop you in a heartbeat if you’re not churning out the hits and putting money in their pockets.
Fortunately for Paramore, four years and few bumps in the road was just what they needed to breathe new life into their music. Lead singer Hayley Williams and guitarists Taylor York and Jeremy Davis haven’t ditched their signature sound – instead they’ve added layers of electronica, 80s pop, gospel and even a little country into their pop/punk roots. Yes, country – the band, after all is from Tennessee.
There’s also a wide range of influences at work here. Fast in My Car and Now sound like something from the Yeah, Yeah, Yeah’s. Anklebiters draws from early No Doubt and Still Into You channels early Blondie.
Paramore is a very personal break-up album – not so much about a particular guy (although the lyrics could be applied to a dating relationship as well), but about the fissure of the relationship between band mates. Hayley Williams wears her heart on her sleeve and in the lyrics, expresses the bitterness, healing and closure that come with any relationship that’s come to an end .
There’s really not a bad track here, although at 17 songs, the album runs a bit too long. Paramore is the band’s best work to date and shows real growth both musically and lyrically. So far, the best album of the year.
Songs to download: Fast in My Car, Ain’t it Fun, Now, Proof and Still into You.