Aren’t you glad Paramore came out of hibernation? We certainly are. Below, we dissect ‘After Laughter,’ the band’s first new album since 2013 — and their most self-aware effort yet. Here, they find raw honesty amidst a social media age where hyperbolic emotions reign.
After Laughter (May 12) is a prime example of what happens when the emo kids grow up, but remain talented. Lead vocalist Hayley Williams, guitarist Taylor York and newly-returned drummer Zac Farro showcase a new kind of energy on the record, and while some fans might mourn the loss of their signature pop punk edge, others will agree that this ‘80s new wave leaf absolutely works for them. First, stream it below:
“Hard Times” is the perfect opener. Hayley confronts growing up — and grapples with the depression she had in 2016 — on this playful, poppy ’80s jam. The video is a blast, too. “Rose-Colored Boy” is in the same vein sound-wise, and it’s a message to her husband Chad Gilbert, who seems to have patronized her at times during her depression, if unintentionally. It’s followed by “Told You So,” and there are some serious Haim vibes on this one. In fact, Paramore might even be doing Haim better than Haim is right now.
“Forgiveness” is nothing to write home about, but it’s nice enough (same with “Pool.”) The record picks up again with “Fake Happy,” an anthemic look at Hayley’s true feelings, and it’s relatable AF. After all, who’s actually happy all the time? Literally no one. Next is “26,” a sweet sequel to “Brick By Boring Brick” from the band’s 2009 record Brand New Eyes. On the earlier track, Hayley sings about bringing someone down from the clouds — and now it’s revealed that she’s the one she was the subject all along.
Hayley addresses Zac’s return to the band (he left in 2010) on the rolling, rollicking “Grudges.” The lyrics are necessarily nostalgic, and it’s definitely a jam. She then tries to make amends on the slightly reggae and very catchy “Caught In The Middle.” With “Idle Worship,” we’re reminded that Paramore taught Misterwives everything they know, and the chorus makes it a bona fide bop. On “No Friend,” the lyrics take precedence over the melody, and the song employs colorful references to the band and their older lyrics to tell a story about them and their history.
The record closes with piano ballad “Tell Me How,” on which Hayley strings together her thoughts about the life-or-death process of making the record, as she explained in an interview with Beats 1. “I had a lot of feelings about just losing people,” she said. “When you die, does it matter who’s fault something was?”
HollywoodLifers, what do you think of After Laughter?