After an almost four year hiatus, rock group Paramore is back and even better.
Their new single “Hard Times” off their recently announced fifth album ‘After Laughter’ was released just last week, and it is the first to include founding member Zac Farro since his and his brother’s departure back in 2010.
The single, which was accompanied by an ultra-cool music video, talks about going through difficult situation and hitting rock bottom, no matter how hard you try. Even though the subject matter of the song has somewhat of a gloomy outlook, the music itself is very upbeat and groovy, incorporating calypso music with elements of 80’s pop rock and electronic music. Dissimilar to music that they have made in the past, it marks another transition in genre for Paramore, and cemented their reputation as musical chameleons.
Paramore began their career in the early 2000s with debut album All We Know is Falling, and they released their breakout album Riot! in 2007, with popular singles “Misery Business” and “That’s What You Get”. These two albums were more punk and pop rock in style, characterized by adolescent anger and frustration. The songs had spunky lyrics and music to match, almost every one being an outburst of teenage angst. They reached great success with Riot!, an energetic record that resonated with teenagers and young adults.
Next up for Paramore was Brand New Eyes, which debuted at number two on the Billboard 200. This album was more emotional than their last two, and leaned on the alternative and indie rock side, with songs that were more mature than its angst-ridden predecessors. Its biggest hit was “The Only Exception”, a folk rock ballad that charted internationally. Brand New Eyes was as diverse in its style as it was in its subject matter, ranging from lost friendships to depression to hope. This album was an example of easily Paramore can flow through multiple genres while still keeping cohesion and appealing to their original fans.
“Hard Times” has the same sugary sweetness of Still Into You, which was a single from their self-titled album, released in 2013. This album marked a change for Paramore; it was their first real venture into the world of pop music. This move was as bold as it was graceful; Paramore became their first album to hit #1 on the U.S. Billboard 200 and also was their first Grammy win. It also included elements of new wave and gospel/R&B, with “Fast in My Car” and sleeper hit “Ain’t It Fun.” However, it did include songs that were faithful to their alternative rock roots, such as “Now” and “Part II”, which was a spiritual sequel to Riot! track “Let the Flames Begin.”
With a new record on the horizon and “Hard Times” on the airwaves, it’s hard to see where Paramore will venture next, genre and style wise. But, as proved in the past, it’s going to be great.
Watch the new music video for “Hard Times” above.