bottom line: 3/5
So the self titled release by alternative/pop punk group Paramore released yesterday, and I have taken the time to listen to the entire 17 track album. I had been anticipating this album, especially since I and most of the other fans thought they were broken up after the departure of the Farro brothers. For more on the background of Paramore, just read my South by Southwest article where I went into the bands past. But anyways, onto the review!
One of the first things I noticed as I started the first track, “Fast in my Car,” was that the Paramore sound certainly has changed since the departure of Josh and Zac. Later in the album I found some songs that were reminiscent of 2009’s “Brand New Eyes” and before, but I knew that this was new Paramore sound. These songs have what seems like an 80’s vibe to it all, with all the big bass and synths that run the entire course of the album. After I was finished with the record, I couldn’t quite tell how I felt. This record was new and interesting, but I was taken back by the different sound. If this is how they’re going to continue to sound, can we fans learn to appreciate it?
There was one other point that I found while listening, and that was the lyrics. These lyrics had a taken a turn ever since Josh (who helped Hayley with most of the song writing) left. The main question people wanted to know was, could Hayley handle writing just in her own?
The answer is (sadly) a resounding “meh.”
The lyrics are not bad compared to what else I’ve heard this past year, but it’s certainly not the greatest lyrical work I’ve ever seen Paramore contribute. There’s some good lyrics that remind me of riot, such as “come find me oh glory” in the song “Part II,” but other times the lyrics are very mediocre, see songs such as “Grow Up” and “Daydreaming.” That being said, I find myself humming the songs, even the ones where lyrics are sub-par.
Overall, I enjoyed the album, but I recognize just how much the Farro brothers contributed to the band in terms of sound and lyrics. The album is 17 tracks long, so there’s something for everyone, even a few ukulele interludes are scattered through that I found enjoyable. To me it’s worth checking out, but do note that you won’t find much of the Paramore you used to know.
In related news, they released a video for “Still Into You” yesterday. It’s quirky and fun to watch, whether or not you like the song.