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Paramore changes aesthetic for new LP, ‘After Laughter’

Photograph courtesy of Fueled by Ramen LLC

Photograph courtesy of Fueled by Ramen LLC

After four long years without releasing an album, Paramore is back with their fifth full-length album, “After Laughter.” The band is said to have gone through difficult times the past few years which almost tore them apart completely, leaving many fans surprised that they were releasing new material. I have always been a Paramore fan, but my taste in music has changed quite a lot since their last album came out, so I wasn’t sure what to expect with this new album.

The title in itself, “After Laughter,” somewhat describes the deeply-rooted theme portrayed throughout the album. The emotionally-rich lyrics focus less on telling stories of love and heartache, and give off more of a dark perspective on reality, seemingly out of a diary. As much as Paramore’s general style is not changed in the album, they successfully experimented with fresh new synths and guitar sounds that resemble ’80s pop sounds and expand on grunge accents.

The album’s opening track, “Hard Times,” sums up the ongoing theme of the album of going through a tough stretch, growing up and realizing the struggle of adulthood, while stressing the importance of finding a way through. The upbeat pop and synth sounds in the track mixed with Paramore’s distinct alternative style brings a new, vibrant approach to the table.

“Rose-Colored Boy” is one of the most fun tracks on the album, which is contradictory to the deep meaning of the lyrics. Williams is singing about a personal experience she had with her husband, Chad Gilbert, who always happens to be there to try to bring her up when she’s feeling down.

“Told You So” exemplifies more of Paramore’s original sound, as Williams sings about people waiting to see one fail or make a mistake in a ridiculing tone. The catchy guitar riff is continuous throughout the choruses, adding a fun and eclectic vibe to the track.

One of my favorite tracks off the album is “Fake Happy.” It starts off with a washed out vocal sound combined with an enervated electronic synth sound. The track is one that’s hard not to want to dance and sing along to, as it accurately expresses how we are all trying to find happiness and faking it until we do.

“26” was another favorite on the album, as Hayley Williams starting the track out with her raw vocals and an acoustic guitar. Paramore really hits it home with this beautiful and slow ballad about not letting go of hope as you grow older. This track reminded me of the vibe portrayed through “The Only Exception” from Paramore’s third album “Brand New Eyes,” except with a few pop flares intertwined.

Overall, the album contains multiple tracks that dive into the many experiences and “hard times” throughout the four years that had passed since they last released music. Paramore has grown up a large amount since they first began their career, but they are back with intriguing new sounds and as strong as ever with “After Laughter.”

Through this album they revealed many of the personal experiences that make them who they are, capturing them with invigorating lyrics while expanding on their original alternative sound to be much more. I feel that all of these experiences have brought the band a new perspective music-wise as well, as this album shows that they have learned a lot from what they have overcome.