Paramore is still a band! With a new lineup that includes founding drummer Zac Farro after the exit of bassist Jermey Davis following the self-titled record cycle, which was released in 2013, Paramore is back to their roots. Sort of. Paramore has been one of the most influential rock bands that have broken out of the scene and into the mainstream for the better part of 10 years now. Over their five album catalog, and five lineup changes, they’ve evolved from punk powerhouses into a band that isn’t afraid to take chances with ambitions to be even bigger.
Hayley Willams and Taylor York returned from a four-year hiatus with After Laughter. Instead of sounding anything like the group’s previous work, this record is full of late ’80s influenced pop. With that being said, it sounds nothing like Paramore’s beloved RIOT! and brand new eyes, but there’s still plenty to love about the trio’s alternate path.
The record’s lead single and opener “Hard Times” is as catchy as they come and nearly impossible to fall in love with after the third date. The front woman’s pizzaz rings out the distinguished elevated tone that Williams finishes lyrics with is still present. Paramore committed to the pop vibe with After Laughter, instead of just experimenting with the change on self-titled, and it payed off. There was a time when Williams wasn’t sure if they’d ever make an album again. She pulls some of the inspiration together for “Fake Happy,” midway through the album and puts together one of the tracks in the song list.
With Farro’s re-entry into the band, Paramore creates this vibrant, buoyant world to live in. Each song possesses a welcoming vibe beyond the sadness some songs convey. Secretly, it’s a place that everyone wants to enter and exist in, including Williams. The singer described the spirited world that After Laughter survives in to Zane Lowe, “Musically that’s the world I envision myself living in as a person. It’s a fun one…and I feel like a lot of people want to feel like that.”