Album Review: Paramore – Paramore, Self Titled
The self-titled album Paramore starts with a heart-thumping drumbeat that is accompanied by electronic soundscapes and a fuzzy distorted bass line in Fast In My Car. This is the fourth album release from Paramore and the opening track shows how brave the band have been to experiment with genres that aren’t necessarily compatible with their trademark sound. The theme of the album is also immediately made identifiable in lyrics “We only see what’s in front of us, we only see straight ahead”; the theme goes by the name of the future.
With a drumstick count in and Williams passionately telling you “Don’t try to take this from me” accompanied by York’s aggressive, grungy, sliding 90’s sounding guitar riff, the song Now begins with a very fast momentum that never intends to stop at any second. Williams belts out lyrics “Lost the battle, win the war. Bringing my sinking ship back to the shore, starting over, we’ll head back in” which contextualises the musical and emotional lengths that Paramore have had to go through to open this fresh chapter in the band’s life.
Grow Up presents more flavours of electronica in the form of synthesisers, which punch through the song like lasers. These synthesisers are accompanied with short and catchy guitar phrases, which makes it sound futuristic thanks to producer Justin Meldal-Johnsen (Beck) who pushed the musical direction of the album towards unfamiliar territory. The song is about having self-realisation about the concepts in the real world “And some of us have to grow up sometimes, and so, if I have to I’m gonna leave you behind”.
Ain’t It Fun is a dance number that has an irresistible groove to it. It highlights the potential of the band because of how musically diverse it is due to the palette of genres it encompasses. The track is Williams’ sarcastic and almost cruel perspective on life “So what are you gonna do when the world don’t orbit around you?” The pinnacle of the track is when the gospel choir comes in “Don’t go crying to your mama ‘cause your on your own in the real world” where from this point onwards it allows the track to blossom vibrantly.
The ukulele interludes are another great addition to Self-Titled as it breaks down the album evenly giving the 64-minute album space. The interludes revolve around the topics of moving on, going on holiday and not being emotionally attached to the past.
Still Into You is an anthemic pop track, which has enough firepower to compete with a modern-day pop classic. It’s No Doubt like riff allows the track to bounce, without it trying too hard to fit in the pop genre. Despite the simple lyrics, the message of the track is painted wonderfully “It’s not a walk in the park to love each other, but when our fingers interlock, can’t deny, can’t deny you’re worth it”.
Melancholic love ballad Hate to See Your Heart Break showcases beautifully arranged violin sections that complement Williams’ innocent lyrics and York’s gentle guitar playing.
Future, the 8-minute epic track that sends Self-Titled out with a massive rock frenzy. While starting out softly “I’m writing the future, I’m writing it out, loud”, the track then takes on a grandiose sound with post rock influences cementing to the surface that can be heard through the wailing guitars. There are interesting mixing techniques used as well consisting of faders being turned up and down to emphasise the intensity of the track.
In conclusion, with Self-Titled revolving around the topics of moving on, self-realisation and the future, the album has proved that there aren’t any limitations on Paramore’s potential as they can experiment with niche and contrasting musical genres while still remaining relevant. Self-Titled is without doubt Paramore’s biggest and boldest statement to date.