Paramore Back In Pastel

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Paramore recently made a powerful comeback with their new album “After Laughter”, which dropped May 12th. I was stoked to hear the first single off the album ,“Hard Times”, which draws a lot from indie-pop with classic punk undertones – which isn’t surprising from the band who brought us “Misery Business”. Immediately, I feel in love with the aesthetic of the album; it’s filled with pastels and playfully muted colors. The album exemplifies something that the band was really playing with and moving towards in their self titled album. 

The color and tone of the whole album feels a bit reminiscent of some of their previous songs like “Fast in My Car” or “Ain’t it Fun”.

(Listen while you read! Here’s the album! Thanks Soundcloud)

In fact, the lead singer and front-woman, Hayley Williams, wanted to take the band in such a new direction that there was an entire shift in the membership. The bassist, Jeremy Davis, left the band and pressed into a legal battle with Paramore, and Zac Farro rejoined the band as the drummer. Current membership stands at Hayley, Taylor York, and Zac Farro. Needless to say, the direction Paramore had taken with After Laughter is certainly enjoyable both visually and in it’s sonic texture. You can check out the music video for “Hard Times” here, to get a feel for the aesthetic of the album. (Not to mention, Hayley Williams absolutely murders with those platinum locks).

As far as content goes, this album is jam-packed with some pretty wild songs. The album titled is (probably) derived from the saying “after laughter comes tears”, and the tracks on the album are certainly a reflection of that. We have a ton of amped up, danceable, fun songs like “Hard Times”, “Told You So”, or “Fake Happy” which imposed strong irony with somber lyrics. In “Fake Happy” we hear; “

You think I’ll look alright with these mascara tears?/See I’m gonna draw my lipstick wider than my mouth/And if the lights are low they’ll never see me frown”. Damn, are you okay Hayley Williams?   

Then again, we’ve also got tracks like “26″, “Caught in the Middle”, or “Forgiveness” which are unapologetic (pun NOT intended) in their tragic nature. I mean, come on, with lyrics like “I don’t need no help, I can sabotage me by myself” these tracks are practically begging you to let a tear loose. (not that I cried, or anything) They do well to round of the album so we aren’t just being constantly slammed by the pop-punk feel that Paramore does so well. Most of the tracks are tied together by a playful sonic undertone that I can only describe as “pastel”. It’s the beat of a tambourine or the tapping of a xylophone that lends so strongly to the album’s entire texture. Moreover, I love Hayley’s vocals on this album, with the quick changes in key and tone, it’s really riveting to listen to, and the guitar complements it so well. 

Personally, I’ve always viewed Paramore as one of those hard-to-reach punk, “emo”, bands that didn’t really appeal too strongly to me. But with this album I really feel like I’m seeing the band, especially Hayley Williams, in a whole new way. They haven’t departed from their core sound, but they’ve certainly evolved and time has been kind to them. I’m excited to see what direction this album takes them in. 

In sound, aesthetic, and lyrical content – this album is the real deal. It’s a really strong album musically, and reveals tender spots in it’s lyrics. There’s a lot to be explored here, and you can be sure I’ll have this one playing on repeat for a long time. 

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Zach Krieger

Where Are They Now?: Pop-Punk Bands

Every teenager needs to go through a phase of listening to
angsty, dramatic music. In my generation, a great number of us turned to pop-punk.
Now that most of us are college-age or older, the whole genre is glossed with
nostalgia. In light of that I decided to update you on where some of your (and
my) favorite pop-punk bands are now.

The bands to fall into two categories: the ones that broke
up and the ones that are still together. Like all good friends should, I’ll
start by telling you the bad news.

They Broke Up

Blink-182

The official status of Blink-182 is “it’s complicated”, but
I think it’s safe to say that they won’t be making new music anytime soon. Or
at least not as the same band you remember listening to on your CD player. Your
use of “ancient technology” makes sense because they originally formed in 1992,
making them the earliest band on this list. Since then, they’ve broken up and
gotten back together a few times, but their most recent break up seems pretty final. 

Their last complete album, Neighborhoods,
consisted of all three original band members and came out in 2011 to mixed
reviews. As much as people may want this staple of the ‘90s to remain whole,
they just can’t seem to keep it together. The fact of the matter is, all the members
are total grown-ups now, and that just doesn’t fit in with the immaturity and “your
mom” jokes that made them famous.

My Chemical Romance

I hate to be the one to tell you this if you haven’t already
heard, but My Chemical Romance broke up. A while ago, in 2013 to be specific. And
with them, broke the heart of every one of their die-hard fans. They basically
defined Emo music, so it makes sense that they were constantly hailed as one of
the best pop-(mostly punk) bands of the 2000s. If you miss the guyliner and
purposefully dreary aesthetic that followed them around, don’t fret, because
there’s a giant collection of songs and music videos you can go back to
whenever you want, including their last legitimate album, 2010’s Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous
Killjoys
.

Luckily, a lot of bands held a much more positive fate,
bringing up the second category.

They’re Still
Together

Fall Out Boy

Fall Out Boy’s story is a bit complicated because they took
a 4-year hiatus back in 2009. But to the relief of all their fans, they “got
the band back together” in 2013. They’ve had a really successful run as of late
and they appear to be, dare I say it, even more popular than before. The hiatus
may have even been a good thing for them. (That is definitely not to be taken
as a suggestion to other bands to break up.) Their newest album, American Beauty/American Psycho came out
this past January and pleased both unfamiliar and well-versed listeners alike. 

Then:

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Now:

Paramore

Luckily, Paramore is still going strong. They sound a lot different now, sure.
But it’s a good different. The actual face of the band has changed drastically.
What once was a five person band is now made up of only three. The renovated group’s
most recent album, Paramore was
released in 2013. I can’t speak for everyone, but I personally think it’s even
better than some of their old stuff. It’s a lot more pop-oriented, but it
works. In a recent interview, lead singer Hayley Williams said that a
new album is likely, the band is just in the “dreaming it up” stage. Keep your
eye out for that one.

Then:

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Now:

All Time Low

Technically, All Time Low has one of the later beginnings of
bands from this list, so it should come as no surprise that they’re still together.
Their latest album, Future Hearts,
came out just earlier this year in April and I’m happy to say that it’s just as
good as the rest of their stuff. It’s a comfort to know that some things don’t
change. Go listen to their old stuff. Listen to their new stuff. It’s all good
and will likely inspire a whole new generation to pick up electric guitars and
write lyrics based on the confusing horror show that is growing up.

Then:

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Now:

Don’t forget to tune into your old favorites every
once in a while.

-Kathryn Placer

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Kathryn Placer