Rock band Paramore has resurfaced with a self-titled album.
New album or not, "Paramore" has certainly received positive feedback thus far. The album sold 106,000 copies and debuted on top of the Billboard 200, a first for the Tennessee native's albums.
It appears that lead singer Hayley Williams' ugly split with the band's co-founders, Josh and Zac Farro, did not affect the overall quality of the band. They both skedaddled during accusations that Williams was too controlling and that Paramore was a slave to the label. The revamped rock group now features Taylor York on rhythm guitar and Jeremy Davis on bass.
"Paramore" opens with the killer track "Fast in My Car," with Williams establishing the album's biggest lesson in the wake of the Farro brothers' split after Parmore's last album, "Brand New Eyes." One of the album's themes is reality versus escape, and "Fast in My Car" provides release from the tenacious verses once the chorus hits the road.
Williams' performance on "Paramore" gives the pop-punk group an edge, especially on tracks like "Interlude: Moving On." With just her and a ukulele, the first of three acoustic interludes is a kiss-off to those who have wronged her (any guesses?). The singer belts, "Let 'em spill their guts/ 'cause one day they're gonna slip on 'em." Clearly Williams isn't playing games, but "Interlude: Moving On" indicates her disinterest for further bickering. The lyrics follow, "I could be angry/ but you're not worth a fight/ and besides, I'm moving on."
Just in case the band's new attitude isn't blatantly obvious, Williams drives it home on "Interlude: I'm Not Angry Anymore." Aptly titled, Williams breaks her emotions down in the 52-second track. She sings, "I don't think badly of you, well, sometimes I do/ It depends on the day." Luckily, today is a good one.
But for all the self-awareness of her maturation in different interludes, Williams still seems stuck on the band's earlier split. Singing on the album's break-out track "Grow Up," "Some of us have to grow up sometimes/ and so if I have to I'm gonna leave you behind ... "
Will she escape her mixed emotions toward the Farro brothers? "Grow Up" makes the prospects seem hopeful. Williams sings, "I don't want your pity/ so don't feel sad for me/ I got a love I would die for and a song to sing/ maybe we're both just living out our dream."
It's tough to tell whether a band's (or artist's) beef with others will lend itself to a solid album, but Paramore exudes the talent to do so. Even without internal struggles, "Paramore" upholds the record's quality on other tracks as well.
The album's two singles, "Now" and "Still Into You," have two completely different sounds but represent the two most successful music styles on the album. "Now" propels the "stay and fight" mentality with a churning industrial sound, while "Still Into You" carries a dace-like tune that celebrates true love lasting.
Listeners might panic that Paramore's latest album is overly ripe with band struggles from a few years back, but if anything, this adds emotion and conviction to "Paramore."
This album is Paramore's most critically acclaimed album to date. After a good listen, fans are likely to be equally as pleased.
"Paramore" was released April 5 and can be listened to for free on Spotify.