in Review

Paramore – After Laughter (2017)

If you’ve been a music fan for long enough, and you’ve allowed yourself to stay open-minded about what music you listen to, there’s a good chance at some point you’ll end up embracing an artist you once regarded as stupid. This was probably even more likely in a decade like the 2010s, where it became more and more acceptable to like artists that weren’t preoccupied with creating anything other than shameless pop music. So here I stand at the end of the decade admitting that I like a Paramore album that I was turned onto earlier this year, while at the beginning of the decade I’m sure I scoffed at the idea of even having to play a Paramore song in Rock Band.

To be fair, I didn’t dislike Paramore all those years ago because they were making pop music. I think I was more rubbed the wrong way by the fact that they were trying to be kind of punk or emo or whatever, when really what they were making was pop music with some guitars thrown in. Not that there’s anything wrong with that necessarily, but I think the reason After Laughter works for me is that it sees them embracing being a pop band with this ’80s synth-pop sound imbuing everything. While at the same time, these songs have such a peppy, intricately percussive sound that they stand out from your average retro synth-pop sounds.

Another reason that this album hooked me was that its depressive lyrics are such a stark contrast from how fucking catchy these songs are. I’m sure I’ve already written quite a bit about how pop music got decidedly sad over the course of this decade, but there’s something refreshing about hearing sad songs that don’t actually sound sad. Songs like “Told You So” or “Caught In The Middle” have some of the catchiest choruses you could imagine, and the fact that singer Hayley Williams seems to be grappling with mental wellness adds a nice layer of depth when these songs could’ve held up fine based on their catchiness alone.

Well, I think this is the last of my 2010s Rediscovered posts, since I’m just not far removed enough from 2018 to come up with an album that passed me by that I have enjoyed since then. It looks like after Christmas week the whole Mildly Pleased crew will finally start saying goodbye to 2019 as well as the 2010s as a whole. Hey, that means someone other than me will be writing posts on this blog. Yay!

Favorite Tracks: “Hard Times”, “Told You So”, “Caught In The Middle”