Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Paramore, April 5, 2013

It's taken me a long time to get around to this review, mostly because I haven't known what to say. I've spent a lot of time listening to this album and trying to change my initial reaction, but every time I get the same thing. What happened to Hayley Williams?

Of course I was expecting a different sound from this record and even a bit of a different writing style since the departure of Josh and Zac Farro, but I wasn't expecting an entirely new sound from the singer.

The vocals don't just differ from past Paramore records, but vary track to track in such a way that makes it almost impossible to get used to what you're hearing. To make matters worse, the album is broken up by a series of weird interludes that throw off the flow completely.

The record starts with the drum-heavy "Fast In My Car" that seems more like a showcase of the bands new sounds than a song and ends with the much too long "Future", a nearly eight minute, slow instrumental that fakes you out several times by slowing down and fading out only to come back.

The truly low points come from "Ain't It Fun", an R&B/rock track featuring a full choir, and "Anklebiters", an upbeat pop song with cynical lyrics about learning to love yourself because "Someday you're gonna be alone".

On "Part II", Hayley throws back to RIOT!, reprising "Let the Flames Begin" with depressing lyrics like "What a shame we all remain such fragile broken things" and "Oh glory, come and find me". It's a far cry from the original "I believe that there's hope growing beneath it all".

By far, the weirdest moment comes on "(One Of Those) Crazy Girls". Musically, this song isn't bad, but the lyrics tell a story of some seriously twisted ex boyfriend stalking. When calling a hundred times fails, she shows up at the door with a copied key saying "If you're not here when I break in, I'm gonna go to your closet just so I can smell your skin" quickly followed by repeating "I'm not one of those crazy girls".

It's really not completely terrible though. Like anything, it has it's high points too. "Grow up" is one of the best songs on the record, making the difficult decision to grow up even though it means letting go of someone you love. This is also the only song that breaks away from the constant change ups and inconsistent beats on the record. Sometimes, stripping something down is the best thing you can do for it.

Mostly, good parts on this record are few and far between and buried in an unfortunate excess of sounds, but they are there and hopefully, those parts will be the ones carried to the future Paramore projects. Trial and error, right?

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