The bleak theme of After Laughter is utterly relatable, and wonderful in nearly every way. Paramore continues to prove that they’re listening to their fans, as well as obviously creating the music they want to make.
The recent comeback of 2007 emo bands had me concerned – All Time Low, Fall Out Boy, Paramore, Panic! at the Disco, to name a few. I was worried that these bands, which I loved as a teen, were simply in it to make a quick paycheque. After listening to some of the singles released by Fall Out Boy and All Time Low, I was quick to dismiss them, secretly wishing that these bands had gone out in a blaze of glory and remain amazing in my eyes, just as My Chemical Romance had previously done.
Alas, All Time Low and Fall Out Boy disappointed, with Fall Out Boy’s review being panned not only by the WaveByte team but also by other review sites such as RedBrick, who called it “abrasive and irritating to the point of being basically unlistenable.” When Paramore’s first single Hard Times was released, I gave it a 4 / 5 with apprehension. I was so scared of their album flopping and reminding me that either I’m just getting old and dismissing the younger ‘hipper’ bands, or that they were getting older and outdated with their fans. Luckily, After Laughter is an album to be celebrated; it saved my sanity and, rather than forcing myself, I genuinely enjoy it.
I’ve already raved about Hard Times in my single review, but do note that it’s grown on me more than the first time I’ve heard it. It’s stuck in my head constantly. Further special mentions go to Fake Happy and Caught in the Middle, two songs that really stick with me and force me to think. Every song on the album is the perfect length, with none dragging on, nor making me feel wanting for more.
After Laughter marked the return of drummer Zac Farro to Paramore, and the addition is very much welcomed. It’s provided Paramore with a steady evolution from their sound, and I can’t understate how welcome it is to have a band evolve their sounds without somehow sounding exactly the same, or alienating themselves from their target audience (I’m looking at you, Wentz.) It’s just so refreshing.
I can’t deny the album is fantastic, but it’s not perfect. Whilst I’m glad they’ve evolved so maturely, it is a bit disconcerting when their self-titled album seemed so upbeat (even if the theme wasn’t positive,) to having only a few faster tracks on an entire album. The 12-track album is by no means long, so if they release a deluxe version, maybe just throw in a few faster songs here and there.
Paramore – seriously, bravo. You’ve done yourself, and your fans, a huge service, and we’re all so proud of you. When I was younger and listened to the bands I’ve mentioned today, Paramore was my least favourite out of them all, and this may have completely turned the tables. Hopefully you, the reader, agree with me and can simply appreciate this album for what it is. And if so, Told You So.