It’s probably scientifically impossible not to be a fan of Paramore. Their carefree approach to life has always provided solace for those unsure of themselves. On their fifth record; After Laughter, the band have embraced their unashamed enthusiasm for the music they make.
The moment Paramore posted Hard Times online, there was a collective yelp of excitement as fans old and new got their groove on. In dazzling neon and a video with a colour scheme to die for, this single perfectly embodies the heart of what makes Paramore so great. For those complaining about Paramore not staying true to their roots, this is band who have always had a knack for catchy hooks and yell along vocals that make you feel something. Rose-Coloured Boy continues this more pop-centric theme, and provides a real early highlight. It’s an ode to being a spontaneous optimist, something we all admire to be.
Told You So drops the ball a little for it’s scattiness. The riffs and vocal style don’t fully mesh together cohesively enough. The intro of Forgiveness could almost be mistaken for an old school Cheryl Crow song. The heart on sleeve feel to Forgiveness and Fake Happy strike a physical pang in the heart. Hayley William’s brutal honesty about still struggling with being positive all of the time will no doubt resonate with many.
Never being ones to rest on their laurels, Paramore are using After Laughter to push themselves way out of their comfort zones and into much groovier territory. Both Pools and Grudges are glossier takes from the band. The flashes of uncertainty throughout this more experimental section hold back good songs from becoming great songs. Caught In The Middle picks the ball up again, steering After Laughter towards the overarching themes of self-destruction and self- doubt.
No Friend comes very out of left-field, and doesn’t fit in with the album narrative. It’s a grey thunder-storm against what thus far has been a multicoloured tour de force. But, thinking about the bigger picture, it could signify the ups and downs experienced by the band in the past few years. In that respect, it’s a cathartic release of any negative energy remaining.
The emotional refrain of Tell Me How is a stadium ready ballad that is bound to soundtrack many a heartbroken walk in the rain. Paramore continue to silence their critics with each new direction they turn. For those still left doubting the band, there’s a reason so many have their logo tattooed on their young skin. Paramore have sincerely pitched themselves as the band to get people through life, and on After Laughter it might not all be rose-coloured, but it can still be pretty damn great.