Released: Apr 9, 2013
Genre: Alternative Rock, Power Pop, Pop Rock
Label: Fueled By Ramen
Number Of Tracks: 17
This is a very fun album and makes me second guess the quick categorization Paramore often receives as a pop band without substance.
UG Team, on april 10, 2013 6 of 8 people found this review helpful
Sound: Paramore started in 2003 after Hayley Williams had been grabbed by Atlantic Records, allegedly for the purpose of turning her into a Top 40 pop singer. Hayley Williams resisted this push by Atlantic, and managed to show the value of letting her and bandmates continue to write and record songs as a band. They were moved to a subsidiary label of Atlantic Records called Fueled by Ramen in order to have more "street cred" and to look more like an indie rock band. Since that time there has been a lot of focus on Hayley as the focal point of the band, creatively, which has caused strife within the ranks. Hayley Williams, according to interviews and such, has defied this perspective stating that the band as a whole is the creative force and that the band is not her solo project. Regardless of Hayley's feelings on the subject, original members and brothers Josh Farro and Zac Farro had had enough by December in 2010 and left the band. Josh Farro posted on his Blogger account afterwards that Paramore was a manufactured band and the product of Atlantic Records, and that Hayley Williams was the only member signed on the record deal. It has been confirmed that Hayley Williams has indeed been the only member signed to the record deal, and with Josh and Zac Farro choosing to leave it did mean that Paramore was at least partially manufactured by Atlantic (as they helped provide replacements for Josh and Zac Farro). I just keep going back to this was originally a band of friends who basically grew up together. Hayley Williams was signed to a record deal and found a way to bring her friends with her and to play the music they had been writing together. The conflict seems to have all been created by the record label being focused on Hayley Williams as a product, over the band as a whole.
This self-titled release is Paramore's fourth studio release, and the first release without Zac and Josh Farro. The remaining founding members are Hayley Williams and Jeremy Davis. There are seventeen tracks on the album with a total runtime of just under 64 minutes. Two singles have been released before the album release. The first single "Now" was released on January 22nd, and the second single "Still Into You" was released on March 14th. Drums on the album were covered by Ilan Rubin (Angels & Airwaves and previously NIN), and Taylor York being the sole guitarist (who is also credited with some of the drums from the new album). The little bit of piano played on the album is credited to Hayley Williams. Honestly, I've probably enjoyed the album more than their previous releases. There is something about the album that comes across as more vital than their previous two albums. The kind of energy you could hear in their initial release is back. I can't say that the guitar work or the drums are exceptional, but they are both very solid and serve the songs. The album is very well produced (thanks to Justin Meldal-Johnsen) without sounding overly polished. // 7
Lyrics: Hayley Williams is probably one of the more exceptional female vocalists in modern rock currently, and she has continued to grow as an artist. Her vocal performance on the album is almost flawless. I've wondered if she is using any kind of auto-tune, but if she is they did it pretty tastefully because I can't listen to the album and point it out. You have to give Hayley credit she knows what she is doing with vocals. I don't know if the lyrics are now written by her alone or shared within the band, but the lyrics are solid (with the exception of the songs going too far into the realm of pop for my personal taste). // 7
Overall Impression: I can't imagine how Zac and Josh Farro felt, being founding members of Paramore but not even being considered part of the band to the record label. I'm sure that it would be frustrating. Even trying to release new music or solo projects on the side they would be seen as "those guys from Paramore". I haven't been in the room to know exactly how much influence the record label has over Paramore's sound, or how Zac and Josh were treated. I know from the interviews that I've read that they decided to leave and weren't pushed out, and that says something as well. My favorite song on the album is probably "I'm Not Angry Anymore", which ironically is less than a minute long and is just Hayley Williams and a ukelele. My second favorite song is probably "Future", which is almost eight minutes long. I also enjoyed the tracks "Now" and "Anklebiters". Just to be bluntly honest, some of the songs on the album are extremely pop more than any of their previous songs but there are some really sincere tracks on the album as well. It is a mixed bag with a tendency towards pop music. The energy is good throughout the album, and even when the songs go far into the realm of pop it is at least more cerebral pop than you hear on the radio most of the time.
kushalraj, on april 19, 2013 2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Sound: The aptly named self titled fourth studio album "Paramore" (That's a mouthful!) is bound to surprise many! The trio have taken risks with the long run time and pop-friendly singles; but they have paid off well. The use of ukulele and strings in numerous tracks has given birth to soothing songs such as "Moving on" and "Hate to see your heart break"(a very nice ballad). "Daydreaming" sounds almost like an anthem. "Part II" reminds me of an epic battle scene! The chorus is empowering and the interlude just before the outro will send you into a frenzy of live rendition of "Let The Flames Begin" (if you've ever been to a Paramore concert. Sadly I haven't.
"Ain't It Fun" is truly fun! Yes, the love songs do their part. And the rock songs have new instruments that were not associated with Paramore. Overall, the album sounds delightful. // 8
Lyrics: The lyrics of the album is rich and diverse. The ballad track "Hate to see your heart break" is very touching. Among the ukulele songs, "Moving On" depicts that Hayley has moved on blissfully from a recent break up. (Perhaps she's referring to the departure of the Farro brothers, who were also the founding members of the band.) "Ain't It Fun" and "One Of Those Crazy Girls" have a more upbeat and dancing lyrics. The line "Butterflies with punctured wings" from "Part II" takes you back to the album cover of "Brand New Eyes". Hayley's singing is just flawless. She complements the playful bass from Davis and simple yet strong riffs from York well. // 8
Overall Impression: "Day Dreaming", "Part II", "Moving On", are the songs that caught my attention. I love the fact that there's an element of surprise in the album; the band has experimented and explored a lot of genres in this album. The only part where I should complain is that some songs are extra short! Bottom line: "Best music ever produced by the trio together!" Although Paramore has changed their sound in this post-Farro album, they're only trying to grow and evolve... If anyone wants to listen to "old" Paramore songs, please do so! :)
And to conclude let me quote:
"The self-titled aspect of the whole thing is definitely a statement. I feel like it's not only reintroducing the band to the world, but even to ourselves... By the end of it, it felt like we're a new band." - Hayley Williams. // 7
Epi g-310, on april 19, 2013 2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Sound: If you've heard Paramore before, you WILL notice a substantially different sound here. With the Farro brothers gone, there was bound to be some sort of change. If I recall correctly, Josh Farro wrote most of the band's music, while frontwoman Hayley Williams wrote the lyrics, so the absence of Josh's touch is noticeable. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing is largely up to you. Some liked his guitar tone, and some didn't, but the guitars on this album do sound different from previous albums. The drumming isn't quite as noticeable without Zac Farro's distinctive presence, unfortunately.
That said, for a fresh start with new songwriting and a familiar-but-revamped sound, Paramore have done a solid job. Stylistically, they jump around a good bit. You'll notice a new feel right off the bat with "Fast In My Car" and "Now", and then there's a shift to a slightly less aggressive tone with "Grow Up". They follow that with a song highly reminiscent of their debut album called "Daydreaming", then there's the vocal and ukulele interludes throughout the album, and songs like "Ain't It Fun" and "Hate To See Your Heart Break" that completely diverge from anything you've ever heard Paramore play before.
They finish it up with "Future", a collage of sounds that would have sounded equally as appropriate as a finale on an Anberlin album. They've tried a little of everything with this album, and it's a safe bet that if you like Paramore, you'll love some songs and be bored by others. // 9
Lyrics: Hayley's voice has been a staple of Paramore's music and she doesn't tone it down at all here. You'll get your money's worth. Lyrically, there was nothing wrong with the songs, but if you've kept up with Paramore's recent history, you'll notice a LOT of references to the Farro's departure. While conflict is what makes a good story, it begins to feel like they're involving their fans in the conflict through the music. Had those references been better veiled, the music would have felt more like music and less like a statement or an argument.
Of course, that isn't true for all of the songs. While Paramore aren't known for particularly artistic or mature lyrics, there's plenty of their standard fare to go around, so if you find yourself put off by the more accusatory songs, you needn't worry about feeling that way through the WHOLE album. // 6
Overall Impression: Many have stated that they feel the album is too poppy, but that seems unfounded when you look at how diverse it is. Paramore has always been pop-punk, but the pop half of that hasn't taken over their sound any more so here than on their other releases - the Farro brothers weren't some magical tether to non-poppiness.
One other thing to note is that the album's strongest point is also its weakest - its diversity. Listeners with eclectic taste will love that Paramore chose to experiment and use a multitude of styles on the album, but those looking for another "All We Know Is Falling", "Riot!" or "Brand New Eyes" will be disappointed. Just don't go into this thinking that it's a traditional Paramore release; change is good, but if that's not the way you feel, prepare for a letdown.
All that said, the album holds its own against its peers, and it will quite easily find a home among the rest of Paramore's releases if the fanbase can accept the absence of the Farros. // 8