Last Wednesday marked the official return of the pop/punk band Paramore. For fans everywhere, this day has been a long time in the making. It’s been four years since their self-titled album, Paramore (“Still Into You”, “Ain’t It Fun”) was crushing the radio waves. As a diehard fan since my high school days, I sat at my desk at my big girl adult job and teared up knowing that my favorite band was back with new music.
They dropped their first single, “Hard Times”, the accompanying music video, an album tracklist AND release date (May 12). Not to mention, the first leg of their TOUR. Paramore went from behind the scenes to front and center stage in a matter of hours. You could almost hear the twenty-something old school Paramore fans grabbing their hi-top Converse and rifling through dresser drawers to find the perfect Hot Topic tee.
“Hard Times” is as fresh as it gets. It feels like the right transition coming after the electronically driven Paramore. The rock sound is still there deep down, but the surface is lighter, more eclectic. One thing that always remains the same is the music. It’s always honest and it’s always good. Although the band has had their fair share of complicated drama, they continue to remain driven to make only the best for their fans. “Times” is actually a dark song, but it’s one you can dance to in your kitchen for hours on end.
The music video explodes and becomes an epic retro pop collage. Think Saved by the Bell meets Mario Kart; inventive yet right on trend. Williams is her usual expressive self (minus the new bleached hair). The Mississippi native trades in her headbangs for head bops as she twirls around arms wide open to a new tropical pop beat. A tri-theme remains prevalent throughout the video as we also saw in the 2013 video treatment for “Still Into You.” Welcoming back OG member, Zac Farro, the three seem to finally all be on the same artistic page.
The four-year hiatus was a pivotal moment for the band. In a recent interview with The New York Times, lead singer Hayley Williams said, “I didn’t even know if we were going to make another record. There was a moment when I didn’t even want it to happen. Then it was like, I want it to happen, but I don’t know how we’re going to do it.” Williams often feels inspired by adulthood as we heard several times on Paramore (“Grow Up”, “Last Hope”). “Times” follows suit. The chorus rings, “hard times, gonna make you wonder why you even try, hard times, gonna take you down and laugh when you cry.” A call & response element adds to the never ending appeal of Paramore’s sound. One we can’t wait to hear more of.
Paramore’s new album, After Laughter will be released May 12.