Renee Sogueco, ‘Doah Staff Writer
March 19, 2014
On Apr. 9, 2013, the pop-rock group, Paramore, released their self-titled album, “Paramore,” and returned from hiatus since 2009’s “Brand New Eyes.” During the band’s intermission from the industry, two members, the Farro brothers, left with a few complaints about the leading front-woman, Hayley Williams. One brother even publicly stated of the downward spiral into a “manufactured product of a major label” on his personal blog.
Due to the drama, Paramore almost became part of the past-hits club. After the replacement of former band members with new guitarist Taylor York and bassist Jeremy Davis, the band’s style transformed and grew into a large-scale sound. With the draft of Ilan Rubin from Nine Inch Nails, the dynamics throughout changed as well. Under the record label, Fueled by Ramen, the 64-minute music sandwich packs together varying styles of rock, reminiscent of different past decades.
The group sticks firmly to the well-worn pop groove, and the overplayed “Still Into You” cries out as a typical girl anthem. Many other critics agree the similarity to No Doubt during the ‘90s. Still, they loosely dabble in other genres, such as gospel with the radio hit, “Ain’t It Fun.” Prior to the album, the band stayed close to crisp and clean production, but experimented with loose and playful sounds aligning with large arena-appropriate choruses. While no harmonies seem to be immediately incorporated, the guitarist either has fun with fast riffs or almost falls asleep on melodic lines. It almost stays unnoticeable with synths overtaking most of the instrumental parts thanks to producer Justin Meldal-Johnsen. Mostly, it plays with its entertaining arpeggios but stays restrained throughout.
While the music stays on track with a fresh sound, the lyrics scream, lament and cry out with Williams’ past struggles. Her feelings are overstated and obvious, which may have contributed to the departure of former band mates. They center on the wounds and destruction of the band during its previous years. Williams overtakes the album in terms of the mood and lyrics. She seems to stick mainly to the idea of irony and the idea of growth into adulthood from adolescence. The lyrics are a bit dark and contrast with the upbeat music. An unexpected and brief ukulele song, “Interlude: Moving On,” happily sings, “let em’ spill their guts cause’ one day they’re gonna slip on em.’” While Williams puts true effort into showing genuine feelings, the lyrics fade easily as forgettable because of their repetitiveness and lack of true substance.
The album, based around a Westernized 24-year-old’s experience, flows with color and texture. For listeners, the main point of the entire album seems to be the catchiness and how well each song could stay in the top 40 of popular radio stations. While the album boasts 17 songs, the drums repetitiveness makes it hard to listen to the entirety of it in one sitting. Even with the monotony, it remains vibrant and uplifting as a pop album. Young adults everywhere can emotionally invest into the lyrics and sing along to the tragedies of Williams’ past. All around, the album acts as a sarcastic, passive-aggressive and honest metaphor for Generation Y.