Album Review: Paramore’s ‘After Laughter’ Track By Track

Today will officially go down in history as “Paramore Day”! The trio has released its incredibly long expected new record After Laughter today. Here’s our track by track review:

Hard Times

Hard Times is almost schizophrenic: the music has a super happy summer vibe, reminiscent of a laid back 80s Pop song, but the lyrics tell another story.
“Walking around / With my little raincloud / Hanging over my head / And it ain’t coming down”, Hayley sings in the second verse. “Hard Times” is about depression, frustration and the overwhelming feeling that it won’t ever get better. The song shows that there’s more to Paramore than funny hair colors and a good tune. 100 Points of 100!

Rose-Colored Boy

Funky dance track with similar instrumentation as “Hard Times”. The song would do very well on radio – it’s just super catchy! “Rose-Colored Boy” could have easily fit on Paramore’s self-titled record as well, since it also has some rock-poppy guitars in the chorus. A perfect track for all those fans who still feel a bit lost with Paramore’s new sound. Another 100/100 rating.

Paramore Told You So Video
Click to watch the video for “Told You So”

Told You So

Another catchy uptempo track with an 80s Pop vibe. The second single off After Laughter is unfortunately not as perfect as “Hard Times” and “Rose-Colored Boy”. The lyrics aren’t as strong either. It’s still getting a good 75/100.

Forgiveness

In this tender mid-tempo song, Hayley sings: 

You hurt me bad this time, no coming back
And I cried ’till I couldn’t cry, another heart attack
If I lay on the floor, maybe I’ll wake up
And I don’t pick up when you call
‘Cause your voice is a gun
Every word is a bullet hole
Shot a hole in the sun
If I never look up maybe I’ll never notice

While the lyrics are outstanding, the music is a mere backdrop. It doesn’t have any highlights or a special character. Thus the song is a bit too bland. We give it a well-meant 60/100.

Fake Happy 

The song starts with a beautiful intro sang by Hayley on the acoustic guitar. It then transforms into a mellow pop track. “Fake Happy” is one of our favorites! It has so many interesting details, for example, the way Hayley accentuates certain parts of the lyrics in the verses and then belts out the chorus. Hayley’s vocals are great on the track. She sings the lyrics with true coolness and sass. And since we’re talking about the lyrics, they are just perfect in every way! Example:

And if I go out tonight, dress up my fears
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

The chorus is so stirring, I can’t help but picture the song in a live setting with the whole crowd singing along. Let’s make that happen! 100/100 for “Fake Happy”!

26

Track #6 is the first ballad of After Laughter. 26 is so emotional that I was close to tears when listening to it for the first time – a reaction I very rarely have! In the song, Hayley sings about a person bringing her down emotionally, killing her hopes and dreams. So touching! In addition to the soft strumming of the guitar, “26” Paramore added a stunning orchestration to the song. It’s truly a perfect ballad! Another 100 out of 100 for perfect sob stuff.

Pool

The next track on After Laughter is a hard one to review. It’s a good pop song, but not very outstanding. It isn’t bad or anything, it’s just pretty generic. The melody is sweet and catchy, but it’s not a song that I keep in my mind after listening to it. 65/100. 

Grudges

Almost the same can be said about “Grudges”. It’s a bit unfortunate that the middle part of After Laughter is so inexpressive. Again “Grudges” is a pretty good track, slightly better than “Pool” since the bridge is pretty cool. Nevertheless, the track just isn’t very special. It still gets 75 out of 100 Points.

Photo: Lindsey Byrnes

Caught in the Middle

Track #9 is a perfect example on how to make a simple pop tune special. It has a very interesting summer vibe with some ska influences which channels the early No Doubt. We absolutely love the lyrics of the bridge: “I don’t need no help / I can sabotage me by myself”. Everyone can relate to this, right? The song makes us happy, thus we give it 90/100. 

Idle Worship

We hereby present you our newest addiction! “Idle Worship” is so different, fresh, crazy and amazing! The hook is super big while the verses sound strangely off which gives the track a special feeling. The song redefines Pop music as Paramore venture out of its genre boundaries to create their own sound. We would give this song 200 points if we could. 100/100.

No Friend

This is just an afterlude to “Idle Worship” so we treat it as such in our review. The track is a great way to bring this monster of a song to an end. It’s an onslaught of sounds while MeWithoutYou frontman Adam Weiss speaks the lyrics. Pretty unique for a simple Outro. This gets another 90/100.

Tell Me How

The final track on After Laughter is another ballad. But “Tell Me How” is backed up by a rhythmic piano track which makes the song flow very beautifully. Hayley’s vocals are very emotional. She really has a way to either transport the sadness and hurt of a line while being super punchy on other songs (e.g. Idle Worship or Fake Happy). It gets a 95/100.

Melissa Wilke

Editor-in-chief | After two years in PR, I now work as an Account Manager in an advertising agency in the beautiful city of Duesseldorf. I’ve been blogging for 7 years on several websites and started working as a freelance writer for music magazines in 2013. I believe in the social value of music and its power to change the world for the better. My favourite bands/artists are Green Day, Enter Shikari, Linkin Park, Marmozets, SWMRS, Lana del Rey, Paramore, Foo Fighters, Nirvana and too many more to list them all.

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