LAST. WEEK. Okay not only was it the most wonderful time of the year *cough* Eurovision *cough* on Saturday, but two albums (that I’m already in love with) were released. Now if you’ve been following my blog for a little while then you’ll know I create monthly soundtracks but I’ll be perfectly honest with you – I was just way too bloody impatient to wait until the next instalment to talk about these two albums.
I’m also using this as a chance to step out a little with my music content here on BCALOU. As someone that’s doing music journalism at the moment on my uni course, I’ve found myself wanting to write more (my lecturer Jerry would be thrilled if he heard me say that) and so I thought I’d share it all with you lovely lot. I don’t know whether these reviews will be a regular thing or as and when I’m loving something but who knows! The Paramore review is definitely more refined than Harry’s (you’ll see why later) but it’s something different both for me and the blog. Let me know in the comments if you guys would like to some more posts like this popping up! Anyway, on with the show!
The latest twist in the tale of a Paramore fan, After Laughter is the band’s first album since 2013. During this time they’ve lost a bassist, reunited with members gone by and seemingly taken a trip back to the days of 80s New Wave to reinvent themselves.
Paramore’s leader, Hayley Williams plays the part of the angsty, quirky haired singer very well and to the tune of pop-punk bops, we’ve seen this ‘character’ come to fruition over the past 13 years. But it’s here, in the coordinated coloured denim wearing After Laughter (which by the way I am LOVING) where we see this production taking on a new look and sound.
If you’ve not been listening to the radio over the last few weeks or so then you may have missed ‘Hard Times‘ (if this is the case, you need to listen to it because it’s a tune). This attention-grabbing, hip-swaying opener does the job of first track perfectly. The funky guitar riffs fit perfectly with Hayley’s vocals and this new era of Paramore is being shouted out loud and proud. Their latest single (again, TUNE) ‘Told You So‘ is the perfect sister track to the opener, with the vocals ang guitar sounds continuing into the 80s-esque electro pop solo towards the end of the track. When it comes to these two tracks think the kind of song you wanna dance around your kitchen making a bowl of cornflakes to.
This album isn’t all sunshine and cereal bowls as a few of the songs – ‘Grudges‘, ‘Fake Happy‘ and ‘Caught In the Middle‘ – have lyrics that underpin the poppy over-excitable exterior and instead seem to play into some of the issues that when on during their four year break.
To put it simply, After Laughter is for those willing to give the band’s new sound a try. Everyone loves a good sing-a-long to the pop-punk hits of yore but if you’re craving an album filled with Paramore circa 2010, this isn’t for you. But, if you’re willing to give this a go, After Laughter is full of sad songs that anyone would find hard not to dance along to.
There’s a reason I wrote about Paramore first. If you follow me on twitter then you’ll have seen the slightly excessive amount of tweets (soz) when I first heard this album and boy oh boy oh boy. Now don’t be fooled by my 1D twitter account owning days (which if you didn’t know that then hi my name’s Becca and yes I was one of those screaming 14 year olds), I’m not going to fangirl like a crazy person, well not a lot anyway. In all seriousness this is a FAB album. It has it’s flaws as all good albums do but overall it’s definitely something that I have and will be playing excessively.
One of the most surprising things about this album for me was how different everything was. Both a) for Styles’ as his first venture since the pop bops I know and love but b) the actual songs themselves. We’ve got the acoustic laid back guitar sounds in ‘Ever Since New York‘ and ‘Meet Me In The Hallway‘, the rocky pop, Rolling Stone-esque bangers with the likes of ‘Only Angel‘ and ‘Kiwi‘ and the unnerving simplicity of ‘From The Dining Table‘.
The stand-out thing for me was how much it changed my feelings towards the two singles he released before this. Don’t get me wrong, ‘Sign of the Times’ will forever be a song that I try and belt out in the shower and don’t even get me started on how adorable ‘Sweet Creature’ is, but now after hearing the album, they’ve kind of slipped away a little (she says knowing full well she’ll still play them on repeat….)
‘Kiwi‘ had me dreaming of being a in a kick-ass gig venue with lots of friends and lots of alcohol screaming the chorus out like there was no tomorrow. The angelic intro to ‘Only Angel’ brought back the tear-jerking (in a good way) memories of seeing The 1975 to then grab me by the shoulders and back into reality when the guitar kicks in. It’s the kind of album that when you listen to it for the first time, it’s gets you feeling a little on edge. Each song is so beautifully unique to the one before it that you can’t help but be nervous as to what’s coming next. Granted I do think that this album needs a better structure/I’d listen to the songs in a different order so my brain can process it better, but for his first go at a solo album – the boy did fab.