It’s funny what massive popularity does to a band. Seemed like only yesterday a little band called Paramore broke out big with their smash “Misery Business” back in 2007. That would lead them to do a song for the Twilight soundtrack, which generated a massive amount of hype for their ’09 certified gold album Brand New Eyes. But since that span of immense popularity, Paramore seemed to just stomp on the brakes. A four year span between albums and the departure of the Farro brothers has put Paramore in a rebuilding phase, and it sure sounds it on their self-titled fourth studio album. Luckily, the trio can stills string together some good pop rock songs in one solid album.
Truth be told, it took myself a while to really enjoy this album. Without the Farro brothers, Paramore lost a bit of punch to their music. This was abundantly clear from the jump; the first “Fast In My Car” didn’t jump out as anything special, almost lacking in a serious guitar solo or some memorable lyrics. “Now,” the lead single off of the album, has grown on me since first hearing it a while back, but still hasn’t grabbed me like other singles of theirs did in the past. Honestly, the first four songs really felt lackluster in terms of this album, because the album did a 180 after the first interlude.
Starting with “Ain’t It Fun,” Paramore sounds like they were having a lot more fun with the back end of the album than the first four. “Ain’t It Fun” is an incredibly catchy pop song, and the choir towards the end makes it that much more memorable. “Part II” starts with some Flock of Seagulls sounding guitar parts, but eventually evolves into this progressive beast of a song. “Anklebiters” is the most punk sounding song on the self titled album, and coming in at only 2:11, it doesn’t overstay it’s welcome like a lot of other songs on the album tend to do. My absolute favorite track is “[One Of Those] Crazy Girls,” where Hayley Williams takes the position of an overly attached girlfriend who just can’t accept a breakup. The salsa beat to start this song fit perfectly, and gives a song like this that much more personality.
Like I stated earlier, there are some songs here that overstay their welcome a bit. The entire album is 17 songs long, 64 minutes long, with three uke interludes to tie the whole thing together, so there are bound to be a couple of songs to overstay. “Last Hope” and “Hate To See Your Heart Break” are both nice ballads, but teeter on being to long to be that enjoyable. The closer, however, is the biggest waste of time on the album. “Future” to be a progressive, long instrumental track towards the end, but has no real punch. I would’ve prefered having a Hayley Williams acoustic ballad to close it, or even a capella if she could – that would make a bigger statement and a more forceful closer than some Thursday-inspired guitar riffage.
Throughout this album, I had to keep reminding myself that this isn’t the same band we’ve heard all this time. Back to what I mentioned earlier, Paramore is rebuilding. Even more, they’re maturing. So as they continue to grow up and change their styles, we as the listeners have to join in on the ride or else we will get too lost in nostalgia. This isn’t my favorite Paramore album to date, but this is a nice firm stop into something the trio can organically grow into something that everyone can jump on board with.
Final Grade: B
Go Download: “[One Of Those] Crazy Girls”