Article first published as Band Review: Paramore through the years. on Blogcritics.
If you’ve read my introduction, you know that my passion for music stems from Paramore. For me, watching the video for Paramore’s “Pressure” made me realize the real power of music. It was the combination of the message the video and lyrics sent, the enthusiasm of entire band, the flip of Josh Farro and Jeremy Davis, the drum skills of Zac Farro, and, of course, the red hair of Hayley Williams. It was Paramore that taught me appreciation for music and it is Paramore that continues to show me the enjoyment music brings.
In 2005, Paramore debuted with their first album titled All We Know is Falling filled with rocking guitar chords, strong drumbeats, and the mesmerizing vocals of Williams. This album brings hits such as “Emergency” with background music so strong you almost don’t need the vocals; “Here We Go Again,” with a softer rhythm that makes you want to dance (of course, in alternative, dancing is essentially jumping); and “My Heart,” which includes a surprise screaming verse from previous guitarist Josh Farro. Of course, let us not forget that the first album also includes a personal favorite, “Pressure.” If you listen to the song, you will hear the most addicting music ever heard. Conveniently, the guitar chords are pretty simple (according to the extremely reliable Google), but I was never able to teach them to myself (probably because I can’t play the guitar). If you watch the video, you will see how this song relates to the pressures life brings and how you need to take the time to escape. If you are ever lucky enough to see this song performed live, you are in for a treat – I’ve seen it five times now and am still impressed. Overall, All We Know is Falling introduced an amazing alternative band, but did not necessarily grant Paramore all the success they deserved.
In 2007, Paramore gained more attention with their second album titled Riot! Three recognizable radio hits come from this album: “Crushcrushcrush,” “That’s What You Get,” and “Misery Business.” Not too different than the first album, Riot’s three singles feature addicting sounds, sing-along vocals, and seriously powerful drumbeats. In addition, they all come with awesome videos that address the enthusiasm of the band. “Crushcrushcrush” features whispered, anticipated vocals that no matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to match; Hayley always manages to sound better than me. “That’s What You Get” became the perfect song to perform live, as its rhythms and lyrics allow a crowd to easily join in. “Misery Business” contains what is potentially Josh Farro’s best guitar solo of all time. The second album did not drastically change from the first, which I, along with thousands of other fans, greatly appreciate.
In 2009, I pre-ordered my special edition copy of Paramore’s third album, brand new eyes, which quickly became their best. Yes, I turned my miniature record into a wall decoration and my only real goal is to have it autographed by the band one day. The first single, “Ignorance,” clearly shows the true emotion the band is capable of expressing through their music. Anger screams in every vocal note, guitar strum, and drum hit. Williams outshines herself every time she chants the line, “Ignorance is your new best friend.” After that, and on a completely different note, the second single, “The Only Exception,” was released. It also quickly became overplayed on every radio station. This song has a more acoustic sound to it and more gentle vocals from Williams. Again, like “Ignorance,” it shows the emotion that Paramore brings to music. With this album, do not just pay attention to the hits because every song is just as amazing. “Brick by Boring Brick” immediately took its place as my favorite song from the album when I heard the lyrics “You built up a world of magic because your real life is tragic.” However, by far, “Looking Up” proves to have the biggest impact on any Paramore fan because it declares that the band is strong and here to stay: “God knows the world doesn’t need another band, but what a waste it would have been.” Williams clearly says it best.
Unfortunately, the pattern of a new Paramore album every two years did not repeat for 2011, but according to William’s twitter feed, we can expect album four to drop in 2012. However, 2011 did bring us a single titled “Monster” that showed the world, despite any complications or obstacles, Paramore is here to stay. Even though the band lost two members, brothers Zac and Josh Farro, “Monster” keeps the same talent and enthusiasm that fans are used to hearing from Paramore proving that the band does not need the Farro brothers to carry on. The heavy guitar sections paired with Hayley’s powerful lyrics, “I’m only human, I’ve got a skeleton in me, but I’m not the villain, despite what you’re always preaching,” further illustrates that Paramore is not ready to give up just yet.
Paramore has come a long way since the beginning, but they continue to improve. Today, due to unfortunate circumstances, only three members remain in the band: Williams, Davis, and Taylor York; however, together, the three shot down any rumors of a break-up and outshined themselves with “Monster.” In addition, the trio has not lost any of their live performance skill or enthusiasm. On this Warped Tour, they ran on stage and it was as if they had even improved as a band with the Farro brothers gone. I have seen Paramore live five times now and every time they get better. Going to an alternative concert is a much different experience than a pop concert – I’ve fought through mosh-pits, bruises, and annoying crowd surfers; suffered through interesting open acts (specifically at Warped Tour); and convinced myself that Davis and Williams made eye contact with me. It’s always worth it though. Paramore brings something to music that other bands seem to forget: appreciation. I’m anticipating the release of a fourth album in 2012, and I expect it to outshine the past three.