Paramore grows up on self-titled album

I’m going to break the fourth wall here, ladies and gentlemen. I was skeptical to review an album by such a well-known group, one that will surely get heralded from numerous acclaimed magazines and newspapers. However, I can’t keep my mouth shut on what a great record Paramore has put out.

Paramore lost two founding members in brothers Josh and Zac Farro after the release of their third album “Brand New Eyes”. Josh claimed the band had become “a manufactured product of a major-label” and felt lead singer Hayley Williams had become the face of the band and that the men behind the instruments were a supporting cast.

Whether the split was mutual or otherwise, “Paramore” proves the split was for the better. The self-titled album has grown exponentially from the pop-rock roots but skillfully manages to keep the foundation of the band in the signature guitar crunch and Williams’ beautiful voice. To simply say the girl’s got pipes is an understatement of her talent. The bridge on “Now” is proof enough William’s can belt with precision when the time is right.

The real turnaround on the album is how it really sounds evolved from their teenage love-hate-love songs and adds layers onto the music. Bassist Jeremy Davis and guitarist Taylor York, along with Williams, really put forth a terrific album that showcases a mature range of influences and emotions. Hear “Grow Up,” and they realize the same thing. You can’t help but wonder if Williams is talking directly to the brothers here when she sings “some of us have to grow up sometimes/and so if I have to, I’m going to leave you behind.”

While they add some keyboards into the mix, it’s soft and doesn’t overwhelm the basics of the band. It adds depth to the songs rather than overpowering them, a lesson other musicians could stand to learn from. “Daydreaming” is a perfect example of how an easy touch can work tremendously to enhance sound. Even the ukulele-laden interludes are an interesting and welcome transition between sections of the hour-long album.

“Ain’t It Fun” is another essential track to hear how the pop sensibilities are a quintessential backbone for the group. Williams knows when to break out the big, bold voice and her R&B-style during the verses keeps the song fresh and interesting. On top of that, add in a choir with the bridge that carries throughout the rest of the song and it’s an instant winner on the record that emphasized the evolution of the group and they know how to win with it.

While Paramore isn’t a band for everybody, they mix it up so much over 17 tracks that there’s at least one song everyone is bound to enjoy. If you don’t like a throwback in “Part II” or a quick two-minute pop-punk blast in “Anklebiters, a 60’s dreamy jam in “(One Of Those) Crazy Girls” or an acoustic-to-feedback-filled ending on “Future” might be more your style. The constant change-up is what makes listening to this record so enjoyable. This new grown-up Paramore has created their best music to date. Here’s to looking forward to more in the future.