PMO: After Laughter – Paramore Returns From Hiatus With A New Sound

Welcome to PMO (short for “Put Me On”)- a biweekly column dedicated to introducing music (both new and old) and explaining its history and impact on music culture. The purpose of this column is to introduce music of all genres and to encourage readers to expand their musical palette.

Two weeks ago, PMO stepped back in time with Prince and The Revolution’s iconic 1980’s album, Purple Rain. This week, PMO will be discussing the 80’s synth-pop and new wave-inspired album After Laughter by Paramore. Being that Blush Magazine’s theme this semester is technology, it’s important to note the importance of synth-pop. Synth-pop is a genre of music that incorporates the use of synthesizers and the genre started during the late 1970’s. Synth-pop especially became popular in the 1980’s with artists/bands such as the Pet Shop Boys, Soft Cell, The Eurythmics, and Depeche Mode to name a few. Today, synth-pop inspires a number of artists such as Kanye West with his album 808s & Heartbreak, The Colourist, modern-day synth-pop band Chvrches, and Paramore, with this week’s featured album, After Laughter.

  • Background
  • Released May 12th, 2017
  • Produced by Justin Meldal-Johnsen & Taylor York
  • Hayley Williams, the lead singer of Paramore, stated in an interview with iHeartRadio that the album was named after “the look on people’s faces when they’re done laughing.” And that “ If you watch somebody long enough, there’s always this look that comes across their face when they’re done smiling, and I always find it really fascinating to wonder what it is that brought them back to reality.” After Laughter’s songs have a very upbeat and pop sound; however, the lyrics discuss topics such as depression and anxiety, which suggest a darker theme for the album. The juxtaposition between the dark, moody lyrics and the cheery synth-pop beats provide an interesting and addictive pop-rock album. Being that the album is heavily inspired by 80’s new wave and synth-pop music, this album’s songs heavily resembles that of artists/bands of the 80’s- such as The Bangles (with songs like “Manic Monday” (written by Prince!) that discuss the stresses of everyday life, like in “Hard Times”) and The Cure.

  • Tracklist
  1. “Hard Times”
    • Rate:★★★★★
  2. “Rose-Colored Boy”
    • Rate:★★★★★
    • Fun Fact: “Rose-Colored Boy” was the last song written on After Laughter after the band’s record label told Paramore they didn’t have enough songs.
  3. “Told You So”
    • Rate:★★★★★
  4. “Forgiveness”
    • Rate:★★★★
    • Fun Fact: “Forgiveness” is compared to rock songs by bands such as Fleetwood Mac and Haim. It is about settling tensions between the band members of Paramore and was the first song completed for the album, according to genius.com
  5. “Fake Happy”
    • Rate: ★★★★★
  6. “26”
    • Rate:★★
    • Fun Fact: Genius.com describes “26” as the “loose conceptual opposite” to “Brick By Boring Brick”, Paramore’s hit single off of the 2009 album Brand New Eyes.Hayley Williams becomes the person she sang about in “Brick By Boring Brick” in “26”. This song, unlike the other songs on After Laughter fails to mask its dreary lyrics with an upbeat melody.
  7. “Pool”
    • Rate:★★★★★
  8. “Grudges”
    • Rate: ★★★★
    • Fun Fact: “Grudges” is about Hayley William’s fellow band-member, Zac Farro, who had left the band in 2010. The song’s music style has been compared to The Cure’s hit song: “Friday I’m in Love” on allmusic.com
  9. “Caught in the Middle”
    • Rate:★★★★
  10. “Idle Worship”
    • Rate:★★★★★
  11. “No Friend”
    • Rate:★★ ½
  12. “Tell Me How”
    • Rate:★★★
  • Overall Review:

After Laughter discusses depression, anxiety, and the complications of both life and relationships. The album also discusses the complications within the band, with songs like “Forgiveness”, “Grudges”, and “No Friend”.Although a majority of songs are upbeat and cheery, there are songs like “26” and “Tell Me How” that slower and have a more serious tone. Overall, After Laughter provides for Paramore to make a come-back from its three-year hiatus, and take its music into a different direction.

  • Personal Favorites:
    • “Rose-Colored Boy”
    • “Idle Worship”
    • “Told You So”
    • “Grudges”
  • Overall Rate:★★★★ ½

 

No Comments Yet

Comments are closed