Paramore has been one of my favorite bands since high school. I would ride to school listening to “Misery Business,” and relating to everything on Riot! I also found it entirely bold and daring of Williams who was only 16 when the band got it’s start wore bright orange hair. Williams songwriting spoke to me as an angsty teenager who felt misunderstood, undermined, and never ever good enough, it helped me cope through all those feelings and become a writer myself, and later a teenage author at only 15.
Released on May 12, 2017 as follow-up to their 2013 self-titled album comes a huge change for the band both sonically and lyrically.
The album contains dark lyrics over fun and poppy melodies Williams has been very open about her struggles with depression: “It means that look on a person’s face when they laugh really hard and then there’s this moment when they come back to reality.”
Drummer Zac Farro rejoined the band in 2017. After Laughter debuted at number six on the US Billboard Hot 200.
Song by Song Review
Hard Times: A playful eighties vibe contrast hard hitting lyrics showcasing growing up and Williams’ personal struggle with depression.
Rose-Colored Boy: A song about feeling pressure to look at the world with blind optimism when you actually feel very hopeless about the world and your part in it. There is so much social pressure to be “happy” that we can actually feel shame when we aren’t.
Told You So: With a central theme is built around the common phrase, “Hate to say I told you so” which is typically said in a condescending disapproving manner. A track about struggles faced when people watching your every move waiting for you to make a mistake.
Forgiveness: Throughout “Forgiveness” Hayley talks about forgiveness and redemption between her and the other band members and troublesome moments with her partner at the time.
Fake Happy: A song showcasing how much we as humans can hide underneath our smiles. Despite being bright and bubbly at our best, there are some moments that you can’t fake the happiness.
26: About not losing hope and staying a dreamer, the musicality is acoustic and very authentically transparent.
Pool: 80’s new wave synth pop musicality creates a cool but dark love song about the highs and lows of loving someone
Grudges: A song about Zac Farro’s return to the band in 2017 after he left in 2010.
Caught in the Middle: Williams confronts the concept of getting older. Combined with a contrasting light and danceable beat, Paramore shares the harsh feeling of seeing the years piling up. This song can also be seen as a fight with depression. Sometimes, the simple act of moving forward in life is a tedious task.
No Friend: An outro track to “Idle Worship” containing spoken word poetry from Aaron Weiss from MeWithoutYou.
Tell Me How: The final track about being at a crossroads in life. It’s a slow moving laiden track showing optimism toward the band’s future.
Paramore shows us that whether you are looking at the world with ‘Brand New Eyes’ or allowing the ‘Riot!’ within to speak up boldly. ‘After Laughter’ showcases a brand new maturity toward the realities and struggles of being a thirty-something adult in today’s world. And I am enamored by all that the band puts out both sonically and lyrically.