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Saturday June 15th

Discography Guide: Paramore

<p><em>Three people make up Paramore: guitarist Taylor York, drummer Zac Farro and lead singer Hayley Williams (Photo courtesy of </em><a href="" target=""><em>Apple Music</em></a><em>).<br/></em></p>

Three people make up Paramore: guitarist Taylor York, drummer Zac Farro and lead singer Hayley Williams (Photo courtesy of Apple Music).

By Lake DiStefano
Staff Writer

American rock band Paramore has had a long career, and with six studio albums, it can be hard to know where to start as a curious beginner. Paramore, as a band, focuses more on quality than quantity. Their albums are far apart not only in release date, but also in sound. 

Paramore released their debut album in 2005, “All We Know Is Falling,” which consisted of imperfect, yet powerful pop-punk. The band members were all still teenagers at this time, and this is visible in the music. Every track is laced with a youthful angst, which is what makes this record endearing. There is a certain wide-eyed quality to the lyrics and guitar riffs, and it helps sell the admittedly half-formed state of the album. While the album blends together at points, there are some notable tracks, such as “Emergency,” “Pressure” and “Conspiracy.”

Their breakout record, “Riot!” released two years later. As an album, “Riot!” is shamelessly catchy pop-punk. It leans away from some of the heavier rock elements from the previous album, delving more into candy-coated hooks and bratty lyrics. The album aims to keep a consistent energy throughout, with even the ballads having full contribution from the band. This energy, though, may be the thing one either loves or hates about this record. Ultimately, the hits it spawned are undeniable. Of course there is the iconic “Misery Business,” followed closely by “That’s What You Get” and “crushcrushcrush.” 

Following the success of “Riot!” Paramore went into more of an alternative-rock direction on their third album, “Brand New Eyes.” Stylistically, “Brand New Eyes” pushed the boundaries of what pop-punk Paramore can do, showcased by a more mature rock sound. On “Ignorance,” the band tried their hand at creating a proper rager with crunchy guitars, sporadic drums and screaming vocals. Meanwhile, “Playing God” features guitar chords reminiscent of early Jimmy Eat World. In recent years, two songs have gone viral and are now considered the hits off the album; these are the acoustic-driven ballad “The Only Exception” and the heavy power-ballad “All I Wanted.” 

In 2013, Paramore released their self-titled record and fully reinvented their sound. They were still a rock band, however the punk elements of their youth were discarded in favor of a more contemporary pop-rock sound. One cannot talk about self-titled, however, without mentioning the two hits that it spawned. Those songs are the gospel-choir infused “Ain’t It Fun” and the synth-rock fusion of “Still Into You.” If poppy sounds are less your thing, the album offers other types of songs such as the heavy “Part II,” as well as the power-ballad “Last Hope.” 

After an extended break, Paramore released their most experimental album to date, “After Laughter,” in 2017. Sonically, it is their only non-rock album and is more accurately described as 80s new wave. The album, as its title suggests, tries to create a dichotomy by having its lyrics be as realistic as they are depressing, while still maintaining an upbeat pop sound. However, it is not pop music in a shallow way. It still has the same electric guitar and drums from the band, as well as the stray synths seen on “Paramore.” The most apt description for it would be pop with a rock inflection. Three tracks demonstrate this careful balance best: “Hard Times,” “Rose-Colored Boy” and “Told You So.”

After an even longer break, Paramore finally released their sixth studio album earlier this year, by the name of “This Is Why.” The pop inclinations displayed on their previous two records are instantly dismissed in favor of a gritty post-punk sound, while still borrowing some of the funk seen on “After Laughter.” If you’re looking for a heavier sound, “Figure 8” is easily one of their hardest rock sounds to date, with the final chorus pounding at the listener’s ears. Alternatively, tracks like the title track fuse funk elements with a guitar-driven rock sound. The band’s affinity for power-ballads also makes a return on the album’s closer, “Thick Skull.” 

There are a couple of some other stray projects as well. “The Final Riot!” is a live album for the tour the band did in support of “Riot!” While not new material, it is a neat thing to check out for any fans of the original album. Recently, the band put out a remix album of “This Is Why” called “Re: This Is Why.” It’s certainly a strange project, but worth checking out if you are a fan of any of the artists featured on it.

Paramore is a very diverse band in terms of their sound, and while not as heavy as other rock bands, there is still merit to the type of rock they’ve come to pioneer in recent years. Given the diversity of their albums, their appeal is wide and there really is no wrong place to start. Simply play whatever album matches you and your tastes best.


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