Every year when music journalists predict which bands are going to break up, I always say to myself, "Paramore." That's the first band I think of when this question is raised, since around 2011, when the Farro brothers left. But they surprise me every year and I think at this point, they're surprising themselves, judging from this NYT feature just recently published for the promotion of their fifth full length album releasing May 12, After Laughter. Hayley Williams is quoted saying, "There was a moment when I didn’t even want it [another album] to happen. Then it was like, I want it to happen, but I don’t know how we’re going to do it."
And now here we are, in 2017, with two new Paramore songs! That was kind of a surprise for me but I welcomed it, unlike other die hard fans who have been listening to them since Hayley was sixteen, yelling her heart out on All We Know is Falling, who embedded "Misery Business" in their MySpace profile in 2007, when RIOT! was everywhere. A lot of people abandoned them after their self titled in 2013 because they had to pull the sell out card from their back pockets. It was bound to happen - Paramore has been around for a while, so it's understandable that maybe they want to experiment a little bit. One thing I've discovered from writing my own (not as good) music is that sometimes as a songwriter, you just want to try it out - see if it works. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't but if it does, why not keep at it if that's what you want to focus on? Song writing is so personal not only for the songwriter, but for the fans as well and it can be hard to balance that. Regardless, I think the term "sell out" is so unfair. Especially after trying to write songs, I can see why professional musicians can struggle with this.
Paramore are so resilient, not only in their struggle to remain a unit with Hayley being the Gwen Stefani of the band, but in their songwriting too. Hayley Williams, Zac and Josh Farro were a songwriting team to be reckoned with. Nothing could stop their momentum of creating pop punk classic hooks with uniquely poetic and truthful lyrics. I've been listening to RIOT! more lately, the trifecta's masterpiece, and it really is a great album. It inspires me and makes me feel like I can do anything after listening to it. The way they say things through their lyrics is unlike any other band that's out there right now, in my opinion. It's more poetry and conveying a feeling rather than just saying stuff. And ten years later after RIOT! has released and many band member changes, they still haven't lost that momentum. Sure, their music has changed a lot but their lyrics still get you right in the feels! And because of that, Paramore still remain strong in a world of rap music that took 15 minutes to make on their Tenori-On (which I'm not necessarily knocking by the way, Tenori-On's are cool, but literally anyone can make a beat with it,) and Lorde and Taylor Swift owning the pop charts.
Some articles such as this one in Variety and this one in Spin, suggests that Paramore has actually gone to the dark side (pop,) and "never looking back," as the Spin headline suggests. I'm not so sure if that's true. Okay, Taylor Swift is going pop and never looking back, that I can get behind but if you go through Paramore's discography, every album is different! Literally every album. All We Know is Falling, RIOT! and Brand New Eyes have similarities, but I would say they're all different in their own ways. The self titled and probably After Laughter will follow suit. So don't assume things about Paramore, they're unpredictable but unpredictably brilliant.
It's funny, Paramore is a band I can ramble on about forever - there are a lot of assumptions about them due to their pop punk Fueled by Ramen background, their band lineup is always changing and always dramatic ("Oh, Zac Farro left, he's gone," "No, Zac is back in the band now, what are you talking about?!") and Hayley is of course, always being talked about, being judged. I can tell you one thing about Hayley though I think we all know is true - homegirl can sing. We should never over analyze that. I will however, judge her choices in men because I'm sorry, why Chad "I give out a sketch vibe and all my solo music is terrible" Gilbert? So anyway, After Laughter comes out on May 12 and I'm sure when it does, people are going to either say, "this is their best album yet," or "oh my god, I can't believe how hard they sold out," or "David Byrne called, he wants his big suit back...and now that you mention it, his entire music career too, give that back while you're at it."