[Album Review] Paramore – ‘After Laughter’

Sometimes you find yourself stuck with thoughts without being able to put them into written words when your inner world resonates with the content of a new record way too much. Then, come the tiniest little spark and it’s enough to keep you going

We love to praise The Maine of how much they GET IT and now, we have finally found a competitor in happy sadness: Paramore.

Their brand new album in four years, After Laughter, hits you right into your whole being even when you claim you’re dead inside; it’s happy yet it isn’t at all. As much as their self-titled was a significant record for the band, it was merely in broadening their sound musically. The coming of age in After Laughter is within the brutal honesty of the songwriting while they keep playing around with instruments and the sound. “Hard Times” and “Told You So” set the tone for the pre-release and now the rest is here to prove it’s worthiness.

There are tons of 80’s influences and synth-pop that artists like Robyn and LaRoux were significant for and were way ahead of their time around 2010, and pretty sure HAIM wish they came up with “Forgiveness” first. Nothing new under the sun all over but Paramore owning this new venture shakes things up in a world where all music regardless of genres sounds the same.

“Rose-Colored Boy” is one of the stand-out tracks with infectious tropical melodies and potential for being the next single that takes over the world like “Ain’t It Fun” did. Before that ever happens, let’s just enjoy the lyrics for what they really are –“hang with me and my weather” / “you say my eyes are getting too dark now but boy, you ain’t ever seen my mind.” A tricky one is “Fake Happy” as it starts out in the same manner the beloved Interludes do and explodes into an anthem about insincerity and my personal pet peeve towards the question everyone’s asking but no one really cares – “oh please, don’t ask me how I’ve been”. However, one question still remains. Who is Carlos?!

What a bliss that Paramore remembers “Misguided Ghosts” which resulted in “26” becoming part of the record. It’s an acoustic ballad accompanied by strings to give extra effect to the flowing tears caused by lines like “hold onto hope if you got it / don’t let it go for nobody” or the pain in Hayley’s voice at, “when you gonna hear me out?” The track is a small glimpse back to the band’s old days in terms of how different it is compared to the other songs on the record, and they once again take a journey into post-rock town with “No Friend” (with Aaron Weiss on vocals), which weirdly says that “no one needs more misguided ghosts.” I call betrayal.

If you thought After Laughter was a relatable record, wait until you get to “Caught In The Middle” – “I don’t need no help / I can sabotage me by myself,” sums up life very well. And life indeed is a strange one, especially as a band when you have to deal with “Idle Worship” from people all over the world, and “Grudges” within the members of your band on top of all other stuff.

It’s personal preference but closing track “Tell Me How” should’ve stuck to the piano-only scenario instead of the fastened rhythm in between. It totally makes sense in terms of the record’s direction though; seeing it out with the marimba’s daydreamy sound.

Forever changing but still reliable – This is Paramore. Welcome back!

Dóra Udvardi

Dóra Udvardi

Writer. Photographer. Admirer of Arts.