What's the story?
The band's first album since the departure of Josh and Zac Farro in 2010, Hayley Williams, Taylor York and Jeremy Davis are releasing a self-titled record four LPs down the line, with the notion that making the album was a "rediscovering of ourselves as a band and as friends."
How does the album pan out?
Since the Farros toddled off, we've been told of the 'soap opera' of the band, and not to dwell on the departure or a split in any bad blood - but it's impossible not to think of nasty separations with this album. A 17-track whopper, we definitely get bang for our buck, and the record's divided into three stages inbetween ukulele based interludes of Hayley singing on an old-radio style, 20s sounding mic ('Moving On', 'Holiday' and 'I'm Not Angry Anymore' respectively, which alone punctuate a pretty telling story), it pans out as an emotional journey through anger and bitterness, cynicism and moving on, and then looking to the future.
It largely seems to be about growing up, getting real and getting a grip. Living in the real world and not ignoring trouble or "living in a bubble."
We'd listen to it when...
With 14 tracks (interludes excluded), Paramore is a veritable jukebox. A cleaner, poppier sound than the previous three releases, 'Ain't It Fun' is a jazzy pop number which finishes up with GOSPEL and sounds like a song that'd play over the end credits of a Disney film, 'Part II' is a continuation of Riot's 'Let The Flames Begin', while 'Anklebiters' and 'Alone' are probably the nearest to "classic Paramore" as this album's gonna get.
Final track 'Future' was the biggest surprise of the bunch - an eight minute long proggy grumble that ascends into a growling crescendo, we needed to have a long lie down and think about our lives after that one played out.
Tracks most likely to top the charts:
Aforementioned 'Anklebiters' definitely packs the most punch - hinting a little at Billy Talent records being played during this track's birth, while (One of Those) Crazy Girls has an infectious chorus and a ready-storyboarded video about an obsessive dumped girlfriend. After listening to the whole record for well over an hour, first song 'Fast In My Car' was still on loop in our brains, so hopefully that one'll get a release, too.
Lyrics that have us wondering if Hayley, Taylor and Jeremy are ok, and not actually putting on smiley faces through minds of PURE ANGER AND RESENTMENT:
Er, yeah, there are a few points on the album that definitely tick the 'rage' box; 'Ain't It Fun' - despite it's upbeat disguise, is about moving on and not going crying "to your mama, now you're in the real world."
The 'Moving On' interlude speaks for itself ("Sit back and let 'em have their fun, let 'em spill their guts because one day they're gonna slip on 'em. I could be angry but you're not worth a fight and besides I'm moving on / If they can't get down then we don't need them around."), while 'Daydreaming's "It's not that I won't remember where I'm from, just don't wanna be here no more" finishes off with a lot of resounding "I'm alright" bars - but WE DON'T BELIEVE YOU, WILLIAMS.
What they say:
The band blogged: "It was a process that allowed us the freedom to explore new territory artistically and to liberate ourselves as musicians, singers, as people! Sincerely, we feel that the best way to give it a name is just to call it what it is. This album is us."
What we say:
This album is NOT the Paramore that you thought you knew, but a new, more diverse group exploring themselves with new genres and lyrical themes. They've managed to release a fourth record that makes as much of a statement as the first, and have come through the twists down the road stronger than ever. It is a bit poppy, mind.
One listen and the previews just isn't enough, we want this album on repeat, on loop, all the time. One or two tracks that we might skip next time around (personally we found 'Grow Up' a bit of a snoozefest in its entirety), but a solid, new chapter for Paramore. 8/10.