Paramore, Paramore

Ryan Reed

By Ryan Reed

on 04.09.13 in Reviews



“No one’s the same as they used to be,” sings Hayley Williams at the outset of her band’s boldly catchy fourth album, her lightning-rod yelp ricocheting off new-wave synths and tense punk-pop riffage. For Paramore, it’s a prophetic lyric: On this expansive self-titled set, they’ve all but ditched the emo stiffness of their early Warped Tour days, plunging head-first into the slick, arena-friendly stylings of modern pop.

Blowing up their early sound and going for arena-pop glory

But Paramore isn’t an album of safe, simple hooks — it’s a deftly arranged and deceptively eclectic batch of songs, revealing sophisticated new layers with each listen. Working with producer Justin Meldal-Johnsen (who recently brought an expert wide-screen approach to the latest Tegan and Sara album), Williams and company try on new genres like pairs of shoes. The old Paramore wouldn’t have attempted a series of cutesy ukelele interludes, or country-inflected balladry (“Hate to See Your Heart Break”) or dreamy doo-wop (“One of Those Crazy Girls”).

Seventeen tracks is, arguably, a bit ridiculous — this is a pop album after all, not a concept-album prog-rock suite. But in blowing up their sound and going for broke, Paramore deserve props as massive as their ambitions.