Paramore emerges with a new song and a smashing new video for Hayley William’s first album release since 2013. Initial RATING: Video 9.75/10 Song 7/10 …

in short, the star of this show is THE VIDEO, and it’s great.

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The Music: I LIKE this new song, it’s somewhat unique for Paramore, in part because melodically, Hayley Williams has tended to go with a familiar melody flow throughout most of her songwriting career. There have been exceptions to this (ironically, a good example is “The Only Exception” a song I quite love), but on the whole, if the band has employed the typical Paramore pop/rock rhythm in a particular song, it follows that one can  pretty much count on the lyrics and melody line to read and sound much like what’s come before. So, many reviewers and article writers throw around the phrase “headbanging” when speaking of Paramore’s rockier music, but I differ drastically from that imposition. Paramore’s music has ALWAYS been on the light side of crunchy rock, it’s neither extremely crunchy nor even close to hard rocking. It is POP ROCK, and has often remained very “bubblegum” to a degree. For the most part (particularly early in their career) it’s been fast tempo and energetic… but headbanging?

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Not quite.

Over the years since 2007 or so, Hayley has expanded and experimented with her singing style. As I’ve listened to tracks from the various albums I can note pretty solidly that Hayley seemed to be the most tight and precise in her vocal delivery with the RIOT album of 2007. This acknowledgement shouldn’t take away from her great skill in later work. It’s just different than her earliest tight, frantic sounding vocal style.

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…but this may be just a matter of casual perception, and although many great songs have come since then, it’s been a challenge to find a song that reaches out and “AMAZES” me either melodically or lyrically (“The Only Exception” is an exception). Vocally though, I can say that there’s been a satisfying progression in her singing, and musically, there are some big moments here and there.

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Paramore perform at the Wiltern in Los Angeles. Credit: Lindsey Byrnes

Nevertheless, from a listeners perspective (ignore the frantic videos, the crowd rousing concerts, and the “punky” publicity shots), Paramore, for better or worse, seems to be short on inducing chills of awe since probably about 2007/2008 when the sound was still fresh and new, but that’s okay. I don’t think Hayley has really been looking to be particularly apocalyptic sounding (“Future” is an exception), and if that has been Hayley’s intention, then Paramore has succeeded. The videos produced with much finance usually reach much farther in this regard than the music and lyrics. Hayley’s lyrics have remained thematically similar over the course of her songwriting career as well, and that is okay too. One thing Hayley has been is entertaining, if not “chill-inducingly” outstanding all the time in recent years. She’s appealing and funny and that matters!

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As a LIVE band Paramore is usually pretty good. Hayley isn’t always in top vocal form during her hectic and almost “too energetic” travels all over the stage in the big venues, but she’s usually pretty good. The one thing I do not like about their concert style when watching old concert footage is the constant “crowd rousing” that Hayley does – it’s constant and distracting (distracting from what?). Nevertheless, for a live event, the crowd loves the constant “how’s everybody doing” and etc, and although it’s great if you’re there, if you’re not there but watching the footage in retrospect, it doesn’t work for very long – and I usually have to stop the vid and move on after the 4th or 5th “how’s everybody doing?” ….

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I realize I’m being a bit over-critiquing of Hayley, but lets be honest, she’s been privy to  the elevating effect of being the “critics darling” for a long time (and rightly so, she’s unique and deserves to be approached differently than other mainstream artists), but, I’d like to hear her take on some deeper subjects than boyfriends and teen-girl emotions (I have the same complaint about Taylor Swift as well). *BRACES SELF FOR IMPACT*

I LOVE Paramore and I look forward to Hayley’s continued success and creative endeavors. This new album could be great fun, and I’m looking forward to fully reviewing it when it arrives!

Various caps and publicity photos can be found extant via Google:

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If you differ from my opinions, critiques and thoughts, or just want to add your take on Paramore please do so in the comments below, I’d love to read your thoughts!

Have a great (new wave?) summer!

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