Music Review: Paramore, “After Laughter”

Music Review: Paramore, “After Laughter”

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If there’s any early 00’s pop punk band that has survived well into the next decade, it’s Paramore. While similar acts like Evanescence, Avril Lavigne, and Panic! at the Disco have largely faded into memory along with studded belts and skinny ties worn over graphic tees, Paramore has steadily built an empire of solid music and adoring fans. And that’s largely thanks to the lightning bolt of talent that is Paramore lead singer, Hayley Williams. (With her electrifying star quality, she could sing and dance her way through the dictionary and still sell out stadium tours.) Williams was just 14 when the band formed back in ‘04, and, for over a decade, she has grown-up alongside her fans – from a plucky, suburban emo kid to that cool, fun, mysterious girl you meet at a party who deleted her Facebook account, like, six years ago. Paramore was playing on the radio as their fans navigated through high school, went to college and eventually found jobs (or more likely, a slew of unpaid internships). Williams has also made herself more relevant since the pop punk craze died down by lending her vocal talent to numerous modern artists, such as when she teamed up with Chvrches (who [Fun Fact] I once ran into at an Urban Outfitters in Georgetown) on their track “Bury It.” Although Paramore’s style hasn’t changed as drastically over the years as, say, the cut and color of Williams’ hair, much less “early aughts angst” fills their albums these days. On “After Laughter,” the first album after the band’s three-year hiatus, the lyrics are still punk, but the pop is much poppier. On lead single “Hard Times,” try not to crack a smile at the playful 80’s vibe or Williams dancing, even though the lyrics she’s belting are about her own struggle with depression the previous year. The album isn’t perfect: it certainly has it’s highs (check out the video for “Told You So” with it’s serious Wes Anderson vibe) and lows (“26,” “No Friend,”) but that’s to be expected from a band of this generation, struggling to come to terms with adulthood and all it’s bumps along the way. Paramore proves that coming to terms with yourself during life’s first big challenges isn’t easy – especially if you’re the type who sits at work reminiscing about your teenage years when you’d ditch homeroom and chill with your clique at the skatepark – but we all make it through, somehow.

 

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