American rock group Paramore released their first album in three years on Tuesday. While the sound strays away from their previous records, lead singer Haley Williams’ voice and variety of musical styles on the self-titled album offer a refreshing listen. However, the band tells the audience right from the album’s cover that this is the new Paramore, a rediscovered group after losing two members and with a different interpretation of their music. It’s a sound that, at first catches the listener off guard, yet can be seen as a true breath of fresh air for listeners.
The band has embraced a softer approach as opposed to their former alternative rock music from the past. Songs on the latest album fall under more of a “pop rock” sound, finding a good mix of the two popular genres. With this new direction, the band seems to have focused more on lyrics and vocals that were backed up by the instrumentals, as opposed to a more equal mix between the two in past albums.
There are still songs that are reminiscent the band’s past hits such as “Now,” and “Ain’t it Fun,” though the majority of the album embraces a subtle approach, with influences from multiple genres of music such as pop and ballads.
Whether it’s a Ukulele supported ballad, a gentle love song, or even an upbeat 80s pop tune, vocalist Williams displays her full range talent. She proves from beginning to end that her voice is not merely suited for the alternative genre of music, but can handle whatever is thrown at her.
The song “Fast In My Car,” is reflective of past Paramore songs and Williams’ voice excels in what we’ve grown to expect from the band. However, Williams keeps listeners guessing for what comes next as her voice becomes light and tender to relay the emotions of the very next song in “Hate to See Your Heart Break”.
Despite Williams’ powerful voice, fans of the band may be disappointed in Paramore’s new direction and song choice. While it is refreshing to see performers take risks and experiment with their music, Paramore’s new direction is not as good as what they perfected in their previous album. The end result was successful for the most part, yet doesn’t really hold up to how well-balanced and confident “Brand New Eyes” was.
This does not mean the album fails completely. It is a great start to this new direction that Paramore is trying to go with their music and with more time and work with this new style, the band could go far.
Overall, the album is a definite buy for fans of the band as long as they are willing to have an open mind for the new direction. With Williams’ talented vocal work different genre influences the album offers something for any listener, “Paramore” is a step in the right direction for the band. I give the album 4 out of 5 paws.