REVIEW: Paramore – “After Laughter”

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Words by: Annette Hansen

As a band evolves it’s easy, as a fan, to feel abandoned when the that band’s quintessential sound begins to shift. If you’re the kind of fan that can learn to roll with those changing tides, you may be surprised at how enjoyable it is to watch a band grow and transform into something extraordinary. For more than 10 years Paramore have proven they have no desire to remain stagnant. Despite encountering seemingly endless dramatic hurdles throughout their career, the band has continued to bring listeners art that is pleasantly unexpected and new.

For the band’s fifth studio album After Laughter, Paramore has unleashed a whole new era. With the band’s increasing pop sensibilities and a ton of 80s nostalgia, After Laughter is a far cry from the band’s early moody alt-rock days and instead shows a band capable of crafting smart pop-rock. From beginning to end the album almost completely maintains its synthy 80s pop vibe making this one of Paramore’s most cohesive records. Even if you isolated a single song it would still be clear that it belongs on the album.

With After Laughter the band has taken all the best parts of their self-titled and stepped it up a notch or two. In the upbeat moments of the record Paramore infuse their infectious energy and attitude. From the dancy single “Hard Times” to the more beachy “Pool”, this album overflows with its fun unique melodies. In addition, this is an album that makes you feel. Despite its upbeat nature there’s hardly a happy lyric to be found on After Laughter. With songs about heartbreak, faking a smile and holding on to dreams in the darkest moments, there’s an undeniable sense of melancholy underlining the record.

While After Laughter marks amazing progress for Paramore, it still occasionally misses the mark with less memorable tracks like “Forgiveness” and “Grudges” as well as the unnecessarily long and pointless “No Friend”. Yet, the album’s flaws cannot distract from everything Paramore does right with this album and let’s be honest, Paramore does a lot right with After Laughter.

Stars: 8/10

Recommended Tracks: “Rose-Colored Boy” and “Pool”

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