After Laughter by Paramore – album review

Paramore is an American rock band from Franklin, Tennessee, formed in 2004. The band currently consists of lead vocalist Hayley Williams, guitarist Taylor York and drummer Zac Farro. While not a band member, Justin Meldal-Johnsen plays bass guitar on their most recent album.

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The group released its debut album All We Know Is Falling in 2005, with the album reaching number eight on the UK Rock Chart and number thirty on Billboard’s Heatseekers Chart. While it only had a minimal commercial performance initially, the album and its lead single “Pressure” were eventually certified Gold by the RIAA after the success of the band’s later material. This album was pretty solid release if you ask me. Lot of really good songs like “All We Know”, “Pressure”, “Emergency”. If I had to choose my least favorite song from this album then it would be “My Heart”, but still solid track.

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2 years later they released their breakthrough album which made them household name “Riot. Lead single “Misery Business” peaked at #26 on Billboard hot 100. The album is said to explore a “diverse range of styles,” while not straying far from the “signature sound” of their debut album. Honestly, on this album we see Paramore improving a lot. Both singing-wise and instrumental-wise. Hayley’s vocals are much more into your face and guitar parts are much more refined and better structured

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In 2009, Paramore released their best album in my opinion, Brand New Eyes. This album is Paramore at its peak. Some of the best Paramore songs like “Ignorance”, “Careful”, “All I Wanted”, “Brick by Boring Brick” are on this album. This is not only my favorite Paramore album, this is one of my favorite albums of all time. Hayley’s vocal performance on this album is amazing, best of her career in my opinion. Guitar work of Josh Farro and Taylor York is even better than on Riot.

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After Brand New Eyes Paramore went to other direction. With their self titled album which was released in 2013 they were looking to explore more poppier side of their sound. Two original members left the band before the recordings of this album. Brothers Josh and Zac Farro. Josh’s guitar parts were one of two reasons why I like Brand New Eyes so much and I guess him not being on this album was main reason why I liked it less than Brand New Eyes but still it is pretty solid album.

In 2017 Paramore came back with new album called After Laughter. So, how is it?

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Pretty good if you ask me.  After I’ve heard “Hard Times” I was kinda skeptical even though I liked the song a lot. As I explained in the review of  “Hard Times” I was kinda disappointed, but still liked the song a lot because Paramore is capable of better and they proved it on this album. I still stand by most of the things I have said in initial review of “Hard Times”, but now I actually like that contrast between overall sound of the song and “sound” of the lyrics because it fits much better with the context of the album. This is one of those albums where you can just ignore the lyrics and treat it as fun and very dance-y 80’s synth pop and new wave album or you can treat it as very personal and honest showcase of everyday life of Paramore.

“Rose Colored Boy” is one of those songs where Paramore showed that they are capable of writing better songs than “Hard Times”. Everything about this song works in such a beautiful way. Instrumentation of this song is one of the main reasons why I like it a lot. It has such nice groove. Guitars sound amazing. Taylor York did such an amazing job on this song and whole album

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Hayley vocal performance on this album is a lot different than on albums like Riot! or Brand New Eyes. Her vocals on those albums were much more aggressive and  she used to “yell” on those records like she mentioned on their interview with Zane Lowe(by the way, great interview go and watch it, Zane is great interviewer), while on this album her vocal performance is much more “cuteish”. Something in the style of Carly Rae Jepsen and honestly it fits the sound of the album really good. Also, those very accented vocals she does in songs like “Hard Times” “Fake Happy” are one of the reasons which made those songs for me.

Taylor York really impressed me on this album. I always liked him, but he was always overshadowed by Josh Farro. On this album Taylor showed how good musician he actually is. Just listen to the guitar work on songs like “Rose Colored Boy”, “Told You So”  guitar solo on “Told You So”. Guitar melodies on most of this album are extremely catchy and easily get stuck in your head.

This album plays with your feelings a lot. You don’t know are you feeling happy because instrumentation is very happy and cheerful or are you feeling sad because songwriting is very personal and sad. The song that does that the most is “Fake Happy”. It starts very sad with just acoustic guitar and Hayley singing in very sad and almost whispering tone. Then all of the sudden turns into very cheerful pop song, but with with sad lyrics. Honestly, first few times I listened to it every time I would end up being confused. In every album listen I would go back to exactly that song to try to “figure it out” and that song still fascinates me.

Next song is where this album becomes very sad. Now not only lyrics have very sad tone to it, but instrumentation too. Something makes this song to standout from other tracks and that is strings. Strings can add a lot to the song and this song is great example of that.

“Caught In The Middle” is another song where Taylor York shows his talent. Just listen to that chorus. It is extremely catchy and it easily gets stuck in your head. Hayley’s vocal performance is absolutely amazing and adds a lot to the overall sound of the song.

Few days before the album release Paramore tweeted picture with Taylor York sitting in front of bunch of guitar pedals and I was thinking that they were releasing Shoegaze album. I was not that much far because amount of different guitar tones this album has is very big. I feel like Taylor went to closest guitar store and said them to give him every single guitar pedal they have.

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There is something interesting about “Idle Worship” and “No Friend”. “No Friend” serves as some kind of outro for “Idle Worship” which I find to be very cool even though Aaron Weiss can be barely heard. I see what they wanted to do with it, but I still think album could stand without that. While “Idle Worship” talks about relationship between artists and fans and how Hayley does not see herself as some kind of idol. “No Friend” lyrically is like some kind of conclusion to “Idle Worship” where Aaron Weiss from Mewithoutyou is throwing lot of references to Paramore’s career like “Twelve years ago I stood on the shore” which references 2004, the year Paramore was formed.

Album is closed by pretty solid song called “Tell Me How” in which Hayley discusses friends loss and probably loss of their bass player Jeremy Davis. In the interview with Zane Low Hayley explained line Of all your weapons your silence is the most violent“:

I had a lot of feelings​ about just losing people and in some cases even within the same experience not really knowing why. Even if they were things I could point out as being my fault or someone’s fault, none of it mattered. What does it really matter when you die? and everything did feel very ‘life or death’ while we were writing this record. This one just had all these different heavy thoughts strung together.

I gotta admit I did not like this album that much after first listen, but more I was listening to it I was liking it more and I think I know why I did not like it first time I listened to it. There are to many things going on on this album that I got confused and I could not “pick” all those things up. More I listened to it and more I payed attention to the lyrics and great instrumentation more I was liking it.

Overall, this is pretty good album and I would definitely recommend you to check it out if you have not already.

9/10

Best songs:26, Fake Happy, Rose Colored Boy, Hard Times

Worst song: If I had to pick one I would have to go with No Friend(Still good song though)

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