(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
All We Know Is Falling (2005), 5/10
Riot (2007), 6/10
Brand New Eyes (2009), 5/10
Paramore (2013), 5/10
After Laughter (2017), 4/10
Hayley Williams: Petals for Armor (2020), 4/10
Hayley Williams: Flowers for Vases / Descansos (2021), 4.5/10
This Is Why (2023), 4/10

Tennessee-based Paramore, fronted by emo-influenced teenage vocalist Hayley Williams, crafted the sparkling punk-pop of All We Know Is Falling (2005) and especially Riot (2007), the album that turned them into stars thanks to the pounding and screamed Misery Business, also containing the power-ballad We Are Broken. A film soundtrack later included another hit, Decode.

Brand New Eyes (2009) is a blander collection that invested more on arrangements than on actual melodies (The Only Exception, Ignorance).

After replacing the guitarist and the drummer (Josh and Zac Farro), and hooking up with producer Justin Meldal-Johnsen, Paramore adopted keyboards and sound effects on Paramore (2013), resulting in sprightly and catchy ditties such as Now, Still Into You and the tapping Ain't It Fun, no matter how derivative of dance-pop bands of the 1970s such as Blondie and the Cars.

After Laughter (Fueled by Ramen, 2017) continued the unimaginative imitation of dance-pop of the early 1980s, as instructed by producer Justin Meldal-Johnsen: Go-Go's-style euphoria (Rose-Colored Boy), Fleetwood Mac-ian synthetic refrains (Forgiveness), etc. But generic bubblegum products such as Hard Times and Caught in the Middle are just painful to listen to.

Hayley Williams debuted solo with the album Petals for Armor (2020), de facto a collaboration with her Paramore bandmate Taylor York, a hodgepodge of synth-pop, neosoul and dance with plenty of drum-machines and electronic keyboards. It is hard to justify a 15-song album that has only one decent song, the single Simmer. Her follow-up Flowers for Vases / Descansos (2021) had instead a spare folkish arrangement (but with a glossy production), inspired during the covid pandemic by Taylor Swift's "quarantine album" Folkore. Liberated from the electronic arrangements, Williams can display a fine interplay with the rhythm of the songs (in My Limb and Asystole) and a knack for serene atmospheres (in Good Grief and Trigger). Best is probably the ethereal piano ballad KYRH.

Paramore returned after six years with This Is Why (2023), an embarrassing album of dance-pop. The funk-soul sections of This Is Why evoke Earth, Wind & Fire and the ending mocks the Village People. You First is an amateurish imitation of Blondie.

(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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