What is there to say about Paramore that hasn’t already been said? The band have become quite legendary since their explosion after Riot, and a few albums and a legal dispute with an ex member later, we are given After Laughter. This is a clear step in an alternate direction for the band, but does it play in their favour?
The band follow the path they started traversing after their self-titled album that came before the new turn that they have taken with this new venture. Opening track Hard Times was released as the first single, and is, as the majority of the public would agree, excellent. Its bright summery vibes defy all reason, and shows their audience that their 90’s synthpop mindset is one that they fit incredibly comfortably in. As the album pulls forward into Rose Coloured Boy the band spread their fun side powerfully despite melancholic lyrics, and their impressive guitar licks shine during second single Told You So add a funky element to their summery vibe.
However, this doesn’t last very long- the album pulls into Forgiveness, a slower track that is more representative of the lyrics that the album has shown thus far. A sharp turn like this so early in the album is slightly jarring, however the song itself is a sweet and smooth track that doesn’t allow the album to dip in quality.
The album tries to carry this vibe for another 3 tracks in a row, however, which forces the album the grind to a standstill. Paramore allow After Laughter to almost become a slow, and admittedly dull, album, not seeming to deliver on what their two singles implied we would get. Before this becomes too unbearable the album breaks into Grudges, that almost breaks into to vibe expected, but comes across as slow and uninspired, leaving the record thus far to be incredibly hit-or-miss.
This changes with Idle Worship, which is alike the bright tracks that began the album, with a bouncy and vivid drum beat to hold the track up and a very emotive vocal performance from frontwoman Hayley Williams. This song raised our hopes, however the “la”s to accompany the bridge are truly unbearable, sounding as though they’re trapped in bubbles, and their inflection is something that causes the song to become almost unlistenable.
After Laughter is an album that Paramore clearly wanted to use to show their maturing sound and to show that they have come out of a tough time all guns blazing. Technically they have done this, but the full album itself becomes unfortunately repetitive and grinds down to a halt too often to be the true “summer album” that many have professed it to be. The good songs on this album are truly excellent, but the album grinds to a halt almost instantly and robs it of any fun it had promised us. Interested in hearing some great 90’s inspired pop tunes? The first ten minutes of this album absolutely perfect for you, but the rest of it is best left untouched.