That’s the funny thing about music, it’s entirely subjective. What one person loves, another hates, and exciting and important news for one can be pointless, useless information for another. With that in mind, US pop punk darlings Paramore are back, with brand new track ‘Hard Times’ and the world seems to have gone a bit crazy over it.
Personally I’m a complete and utter fence dweller when it comes to Paramore, I’d never admit to being a fan or avid follower of them but I’ve enjoyed the majority of their previous music and think Hayley Williams is an unreal vocal talent. So of course there’s an element of curiosity to this new track of which the radio and the media speak, and after one listen through I can see multiple reasons why. Paramore have always been encapsulated within the alt pop, pop punk, rock genres and yet with this new track, they appear to have struck on a more contemporary indie sound, as they feature much more subtle guitar work and keys being tinkled throughout making them very reminiscent of modern indie bands like The 1975 & Bastille, but whilst still reminding us of bands like The Sounds and Be Your Own Pet. Hayley’s vocals are much more subtle in this and it’s interesting how a very catchy, very upbeat and summery track can feel a little more subdued when set against their older material. ‘Misery Business’ and ‘Still Into You’ for example are brash, loud and aggressive, with vocals shouted (with pitch perfection of course) and instruments pushed to their limits. Not only have they calmed the sound down, but as I previously mentioned, they’ve swerved their style and inducted themselves into a class of bands and artists we hear regularly these days on commercial radio and on the TV, which I’d not consider selling out, but actually more a statement of intent. They’re even sporting a much lighter, more colourful look, but that’s not as surprising as Hayley Williams has proven to be a bit of a chameleon in the past. Paramore have always been successful despite being in a more alternative and underground scene, and now they look set to strive for even more. ‘Hard Times’ is a great track, I’ll admit it, in fact I’m not surprised that I like it, as I said I’ve never disliked anything they’ve done. But am I any closer to becoming a fully fledged fan of them? Actually yes, I’d say so. In fact on a very personal and coincidental note, I received multiple requests for Paramore at the weekend whilst DJing at Transmission indie night and turned down these requests as it doesn’t fit the mould of what Transmission is all about. ‘Hard Times’ however I believe will fit really well and if the rest of the upcoming album, ‘After Laughter’ continues down this path, I can see a lot of Paramore making its way onto the ever expanding set list. Only time will tell on that but I’ll be waiting to see the outcome. Welcome back Paramore, and keep it coming.
Words by Stuart Green (@mojo20_music)