Paramore – After Laughter (aka: 2017, the year of drastic change)

Hello Booknerds,

 

Soooo, 2017 seems to be the year of drastic style changes in music, am I right? Paramore, Fall Out Boy, … Even Miley Cyrus decided to go country-style again.

Sure, change is good. But in my case, I’m really more the Sheldon Cooper type.

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To be honest, it’s probably going to be fine. I know that, and I have to admit that I’ve liked style changes before. When Fall Out Boy dropped the Folie a Deux album, I loved it from day one, I swear. It actually took me a while to figure out that not everyone loved it right away. But now we can all agree that it’s a piece of art. Same goes for Save Rock and Roll and American Beauty/American psycho.

On the other hand, I’m not mentally ready to write anything about M A N I A. Don’t get me wrong, I still adore the band, but that chorus (if that’s what we’re going to call it?) on Young & Menace is murder. I love the verses! They’re actually quite clever and real. Of course they are, Pete Wentz wrote them. And I will NEVER not love any letter he puts on paper. But the rest of it is not for me, at all. And woooow, didn’t I say I wasn’t going to write anything about this?

I’m obviously not ready to be an adult about it. The adult in me is nodding understandingly whenever Patrick explains the new song in an interview – yes, that makes sense. Yes, all of your albums sound different, it’s your thing, I know, I liked it. Yes, I feel those exact emotions when I listen to it, so good, very good, very accurate. But then, when I actually listen to it, I feel those emotions (anger, alienation, fear) too much. And then I’m crying over it like a baby again. So for now, I’m going to suck it up and wait until the album drops and I’m sure I’m going to love it and scold myself for being so uptight about one little song. But I’ll get back to you, then.

Hey, they had Brendon Urie in a Llama suit, so how bad can things get when they’ve got something that good? And just to be clear, they’re still my favourite band, I’m not going to give up on them just yet. Scratch that, I’m not giving up on them ever. 

Moving on! Like I said – or like Sheldon implied – I don’t handle change well. If you’ve read some of my other posts, you’ll know that punk music meant a lot to me when I was going through a difficult time, and it still does, today. So when it changes  drastically, it also changes something I’ve believed in and held onto for most of my life. Hence the Sheldon-esque terror it brings me.

However, I must say I was intrigued by the latest Paramore album. It’s called After Laughter, and if you were a teenager in the late 2000s, you know who they are. But just in case you’ve been living under a rock: They were awesome!

2017 is going to be a very interesting year for them, since their new album is a long way away from ‘Misery Business’. Surprisingly, I’m quite comfortable with their new style. It sounds a bit 80’s, Electric-Xylophone, Death Cab For Cutie-ish. Aaaand even though that might make it sounds really bad, it’s really not. Well, at least not all of it is. First of all, it must be said that Hayley’s voice is powerful as ever. That girl could sing anything and I’d listen to it on repeat for a year, secretly wishing I could hit notes like that.

The lyrics are surprisingly okay, and in contrast with the happy-go-lucky sound of the album. It reminds me of Bastille’s ‘we write sad stories to happy tunes’ trademark. It works.

A quick review of each song, as written during my first listen:

Hard Times:

Waw, is this Paramore? And is that a xylophone? Oh, there’s a guitar! “All that I want is to wake up fine, tell me that I’m alright, that I ain’t gonna die” Okay, now I’m intrigued. Hayley looks a bit like Lady Gaga in this video. Actually, this is kind of good. If you don’t watch the video, the style change isn’t even that drastic. There’s still plenty of their old sound shining through. Damn, this is catchy. Yes, definitely my favourite song on the album! “And I gotta hit rock bottom!” *sings along*

Rose-Colored Boy:

I like the intro, it’s catchy. It’s fun. Good vocals! That chorus is catchy. If you listen to the lyrics, you get that nice contrast again. Happy/Sad. I just decided I like happy/sad songs. By this point, I do realise that I’m not supposed to look for punk rock elements from their past any more, but I guess that’s fine.

Told You So:

“For all I know” – That’s the best thing about this song. That opening. It draws attention to it immediately, but I’m sorry to say the rest of it didn’t keep me interested. This one’s got a video, so I went and watched that.  “Throw me into the fire, throw me in, pull me out again”, and now I’m feeling sorry because reviewing their album is kinda like throwing her into the fire. Can I pull her out again by saying I didn’t hate this?

Forgiveness:

I must admit I didn’t feel this song until Spotify Lyrics updated me on some band history surrounding it. It sounds simple and repetitive, but ‘simple and repetitive’ can mean something: Somebody needs to get something of their chest. Telling someone you can’t forgive them (yet) is a powerful sentiment. So I guess that redeems this song. (Also, it grows on you.)

Fake Happy:

Now this song, I’m in love with. I don’t know what else to say. Slow, sentimental start, then THAT CHORUS. Yes. No further comment.

26:

A ballad, interesting. The lyrics are by far the most poetic so far, and the melody is very pleasant, especially once you’ve listened to it a couple of times. Yes, A+ for this one.

Pool:

The wind-chime intro reminds me of something, but I can’t figure out what. Lyrics are a bit simple. I like the second verse better. I’m giggling at all the water/swimming metaphors.

Grudges:

Not an earworm, but something makes me think this would sound quite nice live.

Caught in the Middle:

“I can’t think of getting old, it just makes me want to die” Okay, heavy. I’m not super into the chorus. I skipped it at 2 minutes. (Sorry!)

Idle Worship:

Now, this is powerful. Message received. Lyrics on point. Feeling on point. Vocals more than on point! This makes me feel things about my ‘Young and Menace’ attitude that I’m not ready to admit. So I’m not going to. I’m wondering if they’re going to perform this live? That would be something, on many levels. What do you even do? Jump around to it, or look at the floor, guiltily?

No Friend:

Long intro! I’m going to have to google the words, though, I don’t understand them clearly. The words are deep. ‘Most poetic’ goes to the slam poetry track. Figures.

Tell Me How:

Another ballad! And a 4.20 minute song! Not classically catchy, but there’s something about it. A lot of songs on this album are part of their personal story as a band, and it really shines through in this one. The sentiment – losing friends, deciding whether or not to give up on somebody – is very relatable to everyone, I think.

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So all in all, this was a pretty good comeback album. It was different, yes, and deep in my heart I’m still more into the previous Paramore albums, but I can get on board with this. There are at least four or five songs on there that I’ll listen to regularly on my iPod.

And hey, maybe I can get more optimistic about change now? 🙂 After all, if 2017 really is the year of drastic style changes, maybe that will be mine?

I’ll try.

 

Lots of love,

 

The Booknerd

(Who’s still doing just music pieces. Music nerd.)

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