ALBUM REVIEW: Paramore grow despite drama

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First Posted: 4/30/2013

In December 2010, two of Paramore’s founding members left the Tennessee-based pop punk band in a move that was officially reported as an amicable split. But former lead guitarist Josh Farro blogged his own version of the story, telling tales of a band “riding on the coattails of frontwoman “Hayley’s dream,” his relationship and split with said singer, and spats over Biblical representations in the band’s lyrics (The post was signed “All of the glory be to God, Josh and Zac”).

Despite (and due) to the drama, Paramore presses on as the 24-year-old Williams returns with guitarist Taylor York and Jeremy Davis on bass. It’s been two years since their original fault line cracked, and the new self-titled record sounds like a band that’s happily hastened with fresh and urgent upbeat pop rock, yet reads like the opposite with lyrics centering on the wounds of the demise of the group that defined Williams’ formative years.

Beneath the lyrics live a less-than-cohesive batch of songs. But when the band allows each track a little more breathing room, they show some growth and have a good time doing it. This is best displayed on the almost jazzy “Ain’t It Fun” and high school girl anthem “Still into You.”

Still, these songs are far away from “Brand New Eyes” and even “Riot!” for some fans’ liking. Being more pop than punk may be something the band is trying to achieve, reaching number one on Billboard’s charts in the United States, U.K., and Australia.

As Paramore ages, they creep further into the pop sphere, a positive segue, as almost every song on the album boasts a hook that could dominate Top 40 radio. The slightly disjointed nature of the 17 tracks and lyrics that could still stand to mature and hopefully make this record a stepping stone for Paramore 2.0., leaving fans satisfied yet more intrigued for what might lie ahead.

Paramore ‘Paramore’ Rating: W W W