Review by Camille Germain
Since its release, Paramore’s new album After Laughter has received rave after rave in reviews while stacking up honest interviews and articles. For good reason too. There is this juxtaposition between the instrumental upbeat rhythms and the lyrics chosen that illustrate the cognitive dissonance of battling depression and life challenges while holding a front for the world. This idea hits its truth fully in the song “Fake Happy” where it starts with a slow introduction where Williams sings “I love making you believe what you get is what you see/ but I’m so fake happy/ I feel so fake happy/ and I’ll bet everybody here is just as insincere…” that then returns to the keys and a deep steady beat.
Musical genres are threaded through each song like a patchwork quilt. Each patch presents a side to the album shifting from contemporary pop to ‘80s electric signaled beats to their overtone as the 2000’s paradigm band for pop-punk. The intense lyrics counteract the vibrant sound, while bringing forth a humble telling of woe instead of the emo-style cries from the early 2000s.
Paramore has continued to hold its own despite twisting a Rubik’s cube of bandmates. After Laughter is smooth, clear and well-written collection of battles, introspection and nostalgic return of original drummer Zac Farro. Even with a new sound, fans are saying ‘yes’ to the new music. It is mature yet catchy, presented with clean post-production and raw ideas, the album continues to stay fresh for its listeners.
“No Friend” brings an ironic statement as Williams’ friend, Aaron Weiss, vocalist of MewithoutYou gives a huge tonal shift to the upbeat vibrations of the rest of the album. Weiss delivers his quivering, intellectual words through a sung letter of sorts where he says “These old letters from years ago/I felt it was leading to a/When I wrote this/I may have been finally able to address how it feels” and continues to describe this change and history through elevated language and perspective almost completely different from any of Paramore’s music. It turns the story full circle and begins the nearing of the end of the album right before the final track “Tell Me How” which eloquently places moving on and remembering the painful moments.
Clean and thoroughly executed sound. Retro, yet modern while illustrating maturity in both concepts and lyrics. It acts as a reflection of relationships, lifestyles, perspective, change, and personal experience. It is honest, raw and exciting. In “Forgiveness” the lyrics “there’s still a thread that runs from your body to mine…” explores the ideas of relationships and how even when we move on we stay connected, even if it isn’t the same and maybe the change of the status of these relationships brings to light truths that were buried deep.
Each time I listen to the album I hear more instrumental nuances and lyrics that hit hard and cause more minute jiv. It connects us listeners to the artists by giving a human aspect to a world most of us will never even touch or conceive of being in. After Laughter was a needed addition to Paramore’s repertoire and stepping stone to new ventures.