Even as it's winning new fans in the pop world, Paramore is working to keep its alternative rock base happy.
The Nashville quintet is currently working two singles -- "The Only Exception," a ballad which has scaled to No. 28 on the Hot 100, and "Careful," which is geared to the alt market. And guitarist Josh Farro tells Billboard.com that he feels the latter is particularly important.
"We really appreciate alternative rock situations, 'cause that's where we started and I think it's important to cater to them," he explains. " 'The Only Exception' is doing so well on pop radio, but we want to make sure we keep our relationship with alternative rock stations. That's why we put 'Careful' out, is to give both radio (formats) a song."
Nevertheless, Farro and company think it's "cool" to have a broader pop hit on their hands, though he says "The Only Exception" isn't necessarily a song he expected to be part of the group's gold-certified third album, "Brand New Eyes," which came out in September.
"It was only like a minute-30 (seconds) and we were going to keep it like an interlude or something," says Farro. "We weren't gonna make it a song. But our producer (Rob Cavallo) and label were like, 'You should finish that song. It's really good,' so Hayley and I just sat down with it and finished it, and it turned out great."
Alt.rock groups that cross over the pop divide often do so at their own risk, of course, and Farro says Paramore is braced for a little backlash.
"We figured we would get some crap from fans just saying, 'Oh, I liked (2007's platinum) 'Riot' more. I liked that sound more.' That's gonna happen," he notes. "The fact is we're human. We all grew, and we're growing as individuals, so our styles change and our sound's gonna slightly change per record. I think we made a step in the right direction, and I still think it sounds like Paramore."
Paramore is currently headlining the Honda Civic Tour through Sept. 19, then head overseas for runs through New Zealand, Australia and the U.K. But Farro says plans for 2011 are still up in the air.
"We're just kind of waiting to see how well 'The Only Exception' does and what kind of offers we get next year," he explains. "If we don't get anything that great and feel like we need to make another record, we'll go into the studio. If not, I'm sure we'll be touring non-stop."