As their break out single, “Misery Business,” climbed the charts last year, tension among the members of Paramore rose right along with it. As “Decode” skyrocketed to the top of every “Twilight” fan’s playlist, the band had to fight their way through endless rumors saying they couldn’t handle the pressure of fame. The spotlight didn’t seem to move off lead singer Hayley Williams, whileher bandmates struggled with the way they were portrayed in the press. The powerful rock group with humble Tennessee beginnings follows up their platinum album with an even stronger effort that uses the pressures of the past year as a creative catalyst to prove to the fickle community of emo pop-punks that Paramore has some serious staying power.
Paramore confronts their struggles head on in their first single, “Ignorance,” where Williams declares, “You treat me just like another stranger/ Ignorance is your new best friend.” The band has found a way to move past its problems in order to produce a record that maintains the energy of “RIOT!” as it experiments with new styles and lyrics that hint that Paramore has experienced a lot more than fans realize. Every track on the album features Williams’ soaring vocals, which are stronger than ever and infectious melodies with dark undertones, showing how these young musicians are starting to mature.
But Paramore hasn’t completely grown up. Some lyrics are as pop-punk as they come. During “Playing God,” Williams warns, “Next time you point a finger I might have to bend it back or break it, break it off/ Next time you point a finger/ I’ll point you to the mirror.” The catchy, energetic songs are balanced with acoustic ballads such as “Misguided Ghosts.” Williams’s foray into more subdued vocals creates a well-rounded album that showcases powerful emotions, such as heartache, revenge and acceptance, giving their lives a new soundtrack.
Paramore has accepted the trappings of fame and is ready for another year of packed arena tours and hit singles. In “Looking Up,” Williams belts, “I can’t believe we almost hung it up/ We’re just getting started.” Thank goodness.