Music

The 5 Best Moments on the New Paramore Album

For its fourth studio album and first without founding members Josh and Zac Farro, Paramore have made its most ambitious album to date. The self-titled album is more eclectic and more pop-centric than the first three, and it also might be the group's best.


Paramore

Paramore

US Release: 2013-04-09
UK Release: 2013-04-08
Label: Fueled By Ramen
Amazon
iTunes

Paramore’s new, self-titled, album is its highest charting to date, debuting at number one on both the UK and US album charts. It is also one of the band's more critically appreciated albums to date. This all comes in spite of the fact that this album, the fourth studio album of its career, is the first since the departure of founding members Josh and Zac Farro.

With the Brothers Farro gone, the band’s remaining members, Hayley Williams, Jeremy Davis, and Taylor York, are left to pick up the songwriting load that had typically been carried by Josh Farro. And the three have seemed to fare pretty well, crafting an album of 17 (!) pretty stellar tracks. Though it’s certainly the group's poppiest effort to date, incorporating more pop production techniques and varied approaches to songwriting, Paramore still holds onto its pop-punk roots. Williams sounds as good as ever and amongst the softer pop tracks, the band shows they still know how to rock on songs like “Be Alone”, “Anklebiters”, and “Daydreaming”.

Throughout the almost 64 minutes of music, there are some truly incredible moments both lyrically and musically. We wanted to go through the album and pick out five of our favorite moments on the album. We could have picked pretty much any part of any song from the album, because it’s all great, but these are the ones that stood out the most.

1. Dissing the Farros on “Fast in My Car”

Opening track “Fast in My Car” seems to deal with the band's feelings on the Farro Brothers' departure pretty directly. The song describes how the three remaining members felt while Josh and Zac were still in the band in not so polite terms:

“The three of us were initiates

We had to learn how to deal

And when we spotted a second chance

We had to learn how to steal

Hollowed out and filled up with hate

All we want is you to give us a break”

But the chorus is a bit more positive about the situation, claiming that the band is focusing on the future and instead of dwelling on the past (though writing a song about this kinda seems like dwelling on the past, right?).

2. “Let the Flames Begin” References on “Part II”

Speaking of dwelling on the past, how about “Part II”? Unmistakably a "part two" to Paramore's song “Let the Flames Begin” from 2007’s Riot!, “Part II” is full of lyrical and musical references to the original, and it’s pretty cool! Though far from a copy-cat, there are direct quotes placed alongside the new material of the song which will make long-time fans excited and feel more special than new listeners who don’t catch the allusions. (And isn’t that all that matters?)

Aside from the general atmosphere and timbre of the songs, the two tracks share a lot of the same lyrical and musical material. And although neither song is strictly narrative, “Part II” feels like what comes after “Let the Flames Begin”.

Both songs open with the lyric “What a shame”. In “Let the Flames Begin”, this is followed with “we all became such fragile broken things”, whereas “Part II” follows it with “we all remain such fragile broken things”, implying a passing of time from one song to the next. “Part II” also makes frequent use of the line “Oh glory”, which uses the same melody as when it is sung in “Let the Flames Begin”.

The chorus of “Part II” slightly changes the content of the chorus in “Let the Flames Begin”. In the original song, the chorus refers to an "us" dancing together, but in "Part II", that "us" becomes a "me", explicitly stating that the narrator is “dancing all alone”.

Further, the lyric in the first verse, “Butterflies with punctured wings”, could be a reference to the cover of their 2009 album Brand New Eyes, which features a butterfly split into three pieces.

3. Stripping Down for the Interludes

Spaced throughout the album are three “Interlude” tracks, which are essentially three mini songs that feature mostly just a ukulele and Williams singing. On each track, perhaps not surprisingly, she seems to be singing once again about the Farros.

The first interlude, “Moving On”, Has the ukulele accompanied by a steady bass drum as Williams sings such loving lines as “Let ‘em spill their guts cause one day they’re gonna slip on ‘em”. But it’s ok, because she goes on to sing that she could be angry, but that they’re not worth the time, and she reminds us (though it seems more like she’s trying to remind herself), that she’s “moving on”. The second interlude, “Holiday”, begins with Williams singing “Now I can move onto facing big girl problems”, apparently following her self-instructions of the first interlude. She goes on to detail aspects of her life that show that she’s grown up and more mature, this time over the ukulele and an electric bass in a nice reggae groove. The implied foils here are again Josh and Zac Farro. In the final interlude, “I’m Not Angry Anymore”, with just a ukulele and vocals, Williams seems to be sending mixed messages. Almost every phrase sung is immediately contradicted or qualified, like “I’m not angry anymore, well sometimes I am." This bratty resignation seems to counter the maturity she shows in the second interlude, and leaves the disjointed suite on a playful and cutesy note.

These tracks are great for getting to hear Williams’ voice in a different context, stripping the band down to its smallest configuration and letting us hear a sweeter, more delicate side of her vocals. Although none of the tracks amount to much on their own, together they create an interesting narrative arc about dealing with the founding members’ departure.

4. The Guitar and String Melody at the End of “Hate to See Your Heart Break”

Perhaps the point of furthest removal from their traditional pop-punk sound, “Hate to See Your Heart Break” is a sprawling and cinematic pop ballad complete with beautiful harmonies, lush strings, and intimate lyrics. After a full three minutes and 45 seconds, the song moves into an instrumental outro for the final minute and a half. Lead by a simple reverbed electric guitar melody, lush Hollywood strings come in and dance around, doubling the melody, adding harmony, or moving in counterpoint. As the drums and bass remain steady throughout and allow the other instruments, including a bubbling glockenspiel, to soar overhead in what is truly the most beautiful moment of this album, or perhaps any album of this year so far.

5. Hayley Williams’ Vocals on the “Still Into You” Break

It would be hard to find someone who would say that the main appeal to Paramore for them is anything other than Hayley Williams. Her voice is huge and versatile. It’s powerful and instantly recognizable, and generally holds the music together. This is not to say that their songwriting isn’t great or that they’re productions aren’t exciting, but Hayley Williams is simply the best element, and she shines throughout this entire album. Perhaps her best moment, though, comes before the last chorus of second single, “Still Into You”. The track breaks down to a steady bass drum, a palm-muted guitar, and a distant synth bass. Williams sings the main hook, softly and sweetly, and the repeats it expanded, singing “Baby not a day goes by that I’m not into you”, whereupon she crescendos into her full voice, pushing her range to its limits with power and control. As she finishes her impressive vocal riff, the drums kick back into high gear and bring us back into a full chorus to end the song.

Music


Books


Film


Recent
Books

How the Template for Modern Combat Journalism Developed

The superbly researched Journalism and the Russo-Japanese War tells readers how Japan pioneered modern techniques of propaganda and censorship in the Russo-Japanese War.

Film

From Horrifying Comedy to Darkly Funny Horror: Bob Clark Films

What if I told you that the director of one of the most heartwarming and beloved Christmas movies of all time is the same director as probably the most terrifying and disturbing yuletide horror films of all time?

Music

The 50 Best Songs of 2007

Journey back 13 years to a stellar year for Rihanna, M.I.A., Arcade Fire, and Kanye West. From hip-hop to indie rock and everywhere in between, PopMatters picks the best 50 songs of 2007.

Music

'Modern' Is the Pinnacle of Post-Comeback Buzzcocks' Records

Presented as part of the new Buzzcocks' box-set, Sell You Everything, Modern showed a band that wasn't interested in just repeating itself or playing to nostalgia.

Music

​Nearly 50 and Nearly Unplugged: 'ChangesNowBowie' Is a Glimpse Into a Brilliant Mind

Nine tracks, recorded by the BBC in 1996 show David Bowie in a relaxed and playful mood. ChangesNowBowie is a glimpse into a brilliant mind.

Music

Reaching for the Sky: An Interview with Singer-Songwriter Bruce Sudano

How did Bruce Sudano become a superhero? PopMatters has the answer as Sudano celebrates the release of Spirals and reflects on his career from Brooklyn Dreams to Broadway.

Music

Inventions Conjure Mystery and Hope with the Intensely Creative 'Continuous Portrait'

Instrumental duo Matthew Robert Cooper (Eluvium) and Mark T. Smith (Explosions in the Sky) release their first album in five years as Inventions. Continuous Portrait is both sonically thrilling and oddly soothing.

Music

Esperanza Spalding and Fred Hersch Are 'Live at the Village Vanguard' to Raise Money for Musicians

Esperanza Spalding and Fred Hersch release a live recording from a 2018 show to raise money for a good cause: other jazz musicians.

Music

Lady Gaga's 'Chromatica' Hides Its True Intentions Behind Dancefloor Exuberance

Lady Gaga's Chromatica is the most lively and consistent record she's made since Born This Way, embracing everything great about her dance-pop early days and giving it a fresh twist.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Street Art As Sprayed Solidarity: Global Corona Graffiti

COVID-19-related street art functions as a vehicle for political critique and social engagement. It offers a form of global solidarity in a time of crisis.

Music

Gretchen Peters Honors Mickey Newbury With "The Sailor" and New Album (premiere + interview)

Gretchen Peters' latest album, The Night You Wrote That Song: The Songs of Mickey Newbury, celebrates one of American songwriting's most underappreciated artists. Hear Peters' new single "The Sailor" as she talks about her latest project.

Music

Okkyung Lee Goes From Classical to Noise on the Stellar 'Yeo-Neun'

Cellist Okkyung Lee walks a fine line between classical and noise on the splendid, minimalist excursion Yeo-Neun.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.