After Laughter review by Paramore

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  • Released: May 12, 2017
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8 (53 votes)
Paramore: After Laughter
23

Sound — 8
Paramore are an American pop rock band releasing albums since 2005. The band currently is a trio, featuring Hayley Williams on vocals, Taylor York on guitar, and Zac Farro on drums. This is Farro's first album since his return to the band earlier this year. He and his brother Josh, both founding members of the band, left in 2010. The supposed story is that the brothers felt Hayley was taking the spotlight in too many ways. While the brothers' departure might still remain controversial, there is no denying that Hayley Williams is the face of the band. From the songwriting credits to stage presence, Hayley is the center of attention.

That being said, what's most interesting about this album is how much there is to like from the other band members. Actually, my favorite part of the album is the bass playing, which isn't even done by a band member, but rather by producer Justin Meldal-Johnsen, who is filling in due to the departure of founding member Jeremy Davis. His tone is firm and, maybe because he's the producer, it's right at the front of the mix, impossible to miss. His playing is also great. Nothing is ever too complicated, but there is always a cool groove going. It's great, the type of thing that doesn't get in the way, but is there if your mind ever needs something interesting to latch onto.

The clean electric guitars of Taylor York are also a standout feature of this album. Their clear tone makes them stand out in the mix. But more importantly, the playing is just so fluid. Sometimes there's something funky but other times there's some really nice arpeggios. This aren't necessarily complicated, but again, just like the bass playing, it completely fills the role that it is supposed to fill.

In general that seems to be the common theme with this album, that the role of nothing is overstated and everything fits in its place. Also just like the bass parts the guitar parts are also perpetual Groove although although these parts are also usually more in the Middle where is the bases somewhere in the you don't have to listen to if you don't want to pay attention.

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Perhaps the most spontaneous thing about this album is the drumming; it doesn't seem to ever follow a very particular beat. To be clear, everything is in 4/4; there's nothing weird as far as time signatures. At the same time, none of the rhythms are easy and steady like one might expect with a pop album. There's a lot of playing on the tom-toms. The basic idea seems to be that the snare and the bass drum are hit at the normal times but in between the beats, everything else seems to be fair game. Despite the spontaneity, everything stays in an easy enough to follow rhythm, but overall it's not as form-fitting as the bass or guitar parts.

The songwriting follows the theme of the instruments in that it stays simple, but groovy. The album is a collection of nice, little tunes that never go over five minutes but never below three minutes. As you can imagine the song structures are pretty similar throughout the album, but that doesn't mean the song themselves or similar. It seems like each song has its own little theme and then the songs go about expressing that theme. The result is that most of the songs are catchy and fill their little niche well before cutting out before boredom arrives.

Lyrics — 8
All of this and still and no mention of Hayley Williams's performance on this album. Her performance is perhaps the easiest describe of them all because it is something everyone has heard from her before. If she is the center of the band, it's because her writing and her vocal contributions seem to be the most prolific thing about the band. So ironically, her performance on this album, which is consistent with her other work in Paramore, feels like the simplest performance of them all because of how expected it is. And as expected, her performance flies high.

The lyrics on the album are pretty relatable. Hayley Williams is one of those lyricists who can write about the same old things everyone else does, for example love, loss, and struggle but make it seem personal to the listener.

Overall Impression — 8
Overall, this album is consistently fun and entertaining. It is particularly striking how well these songs would work in a live setting. The songs are concise and groovy; one would think they would get old fast, but they never do. Every instrument has something interesting to offer that would be worth listening to on its own.

Oddly enough, one can easily picture the album as fitting the late spring, early summer timeslot in which it was released. Like everything else on this album, this is a little touch that adds much. After your Laughter from that amazing (terrible joke), you might have some fun if you listen to this album.

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18 comments sorted by best / new / date

    koalabacon
    I was never really a Paramore fan growing up. They were popular when I was in late middle-school early highschool, and as a grunge dork I never really rode the pop-punk/screamo/emo/indy wave that was popular with the hot-topic warped-tour skinny jeans revival crowd. Paramore in previous albums (i feel like they) tried hard to remain in the style that made them popular in the mid-2000s in a musical era that no longer cares for mid-2000s pop punk. And Hayley Williams was slowly becoming some-what of an Avril Lavigne for the people who grew up listening to her. This album is an evolution, and done tastefully well. I think they will disappoint old fans but get new followers. It lacks the contrived quality of Paramore attempting to rehash the same thing they did previously. Despite that i'm still not a fan of the music, a highly appreciate that they are succeeding at doing something new. I can respect creativity done right. Definitely some talking heads flavors in some of the songs, which i found kinda neat.
    Nero Galon
    Not the first time i've heard the Talking Heads comparison. Will definitely give this one a listen. Have to say, this is definitely an unexpected positively reviewed album.
    koalabacon
    If you didn't like Paramore before, don't expect to love it. But if you're willing to keep an open mind it's objectively not a bad album.
    TheBlisterer
    After listening to a few songs I can't see myself getting down with this album too much, but at least it's a style switch done right, so I can respect that and I wish Paramore every success wherever they choose go. I mean, anything is better than what Linkin Park have just 'produced'.
    dreamtheater777
    Came here just to laugh at how bad the music was...  Now I'm upset that I can't trash it because it's pretty catchy...
    Jehuty
    I've never listened to Paramore, but I'm really hooked on Hard Times, so I'm probably going to check the album out. 
    DissonantTimbre
    I love Paramore's first three albums, Brand New Eyes being my favorite. I hated the self-titled when it came out, admittedly it has grown on me slightly over time. I heard Zac Farro rejoined the band so I remained hopeful (to me the core of Paramore was always Hayley's vocals propelled by the energy of Zac's drums) I happened to see the link for the "Hard Times" video the day it came out and I checked it out and I must have listened to it about 20 times that day alone. So far this is my unexpected favorite of album of 2017. It has that 80s new wave/synth-pop vibe but it's still uniquely Paramore. My favorite thing is seeing how Taylor York has developed his own unique guitar style and has not tried to copy Josh Farro's style pop punk/emo style.
    HavokStrife
    This may be the best example of key songwriters leaving a band and whoever is left trying to pick up the pieces and falling flat on their face. Never my favorite band, had some good tunes, some pretty decent riffs, not just one powerchord/octave to the next, but this is just some Taylor Swift shit right here. I don't even get the comparison to 80's music. This is as 2010's junk as it gets. The clean guitar is great? Yeah, dude can pluck three strings and ring a chord out over and over with the best of them..
    GR84
    I really enjoy Paramore, i have given this album multiple attempts and its not really clicking with me, i see why people like it, but it's just not clicking with me. Personally i really liked the direction they were going with the last album - there were some really nice guitar sections on that and it was a nice mix of dark, light, rock, pop, and indie all mixed up. This one is floating in the clouds a bit too much for me - but maybe it will sink in at some point, though i do like "hard times",
    The Judist
    Haim do the 80s pop rock thing a lot better. Their new album will be superior to Paramore's. 
    only.punk.rock.music
    I like Paramore and most of their music. But I dont like this album, it's not anymore that alternative, "punk" style they had. It's just an opinion.
    QuantumInfinity
    Wow, this is pretty cool! Haven't really listened to anything that came after their second album for longer than 15 minutes but this is really neat, nice to hear!
    Shmickfit
    I'll admit, I haven't been keeping tabs on Paramore since the two brothers left the band, but to me this sounds like they're trying to reinvent themselves as a Blondie covers band, circa 1980-onwards.  It's not bad, but it ain't for me. (just found out that one of the Farro brothers has returned, that's kinda cool).