Poor Josh and Zac Farro, left in the dust after the dramatic turmoil spun about by Paramore’s label dispute. The commotion occurred after frontwoman Haley Williams was slammed by her fellow bandmates for being the sole band member actually signed to Atlantic Records, among related accusations of Williams being treated as the band’s only imperative aspect.

Paramore

B+
Ramen/Atlantic Records


After a sour finale to that catastrophe, listeners’ curiosity rose with Paramore’s position on the Billboard Social-40, a testament to Billboard’s belief that any publicity is good publicity. The moment is here, however, and Paramore’s following no longer waits in wonder of what changes the Josh- and Zac-less self-titled record will bring.

Paramore sticks its toes in a few different waters but clings to its rock foundation. “Daydreaming” lays out a humble bit of synth, sufficient for inspiring interest and keeping coherency with its previous work. Mustering up some contemporary styling doesn’t push any of the band’s members out of the picture — credit to Paramore’s new producer-of-choice, Justin Meldal-Johnsen.

Meldal-Johnsen, the former bassist of Nine Inch Nails, is no stranger to the rock game. He was notably credited for his work with Beck, but most recently credited for his work on Tegan and Sara’s Heartthrob. The twins have ties to Paramore from its previous tour, so it doesn’t take many degrees of Justin Meldal-Johnsen to understand the band’s choice of producer.

Album openers “Fast in My Car” and “Now” might bring the group back to its garage-band days, but the second promotional single, “Still Into You,” and its close relative, “Ain’t It Fun,” sport less of a crunchy rock performance, gearing more toward the radio-ready style of Brand New Eyes. On “Ain’t It Fun,” for instance, new percussive bell styles add a hint of playful flavor, similar to the additional synth-subtleties of the record’s other tracks.

A less-subtle new detail of Paramore is the breakdown of the record’s format — divided into three parts by the “Moving On” and “Holiday” interludes. This is where production changes step potentially too far outside of their boundaries, taking on the musical portrait of a Hawaiian adventure by swapping out Paramore’s rock guitar with a ukulele. It’s easy to see where this “Holiday” is taking place.

The record’s styles have a relatively short attention span, typically lasting for two or three songs, but isn’t so drastic that the music would be labeled “an atypical sound” of Haley and her crew. The nearly perfect blend of coherency and experimentation is the vaccine to protect against a case of fourth-studio-album boredom.

Williams stated that the preference for a self-titled album stemmed from an urge to reintroduce the band to the world — a wise decision, given the doubts built on the recent melodrama. Paramore listeners will appreciate the reintroduction and understand the group’s musical roots are still there, even if its original founders aren’t.

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