Four years after their last album, Paramore’s new single is finally here. “Hard Times” is an addictive, Talking Heads-inspired jam that sounds like it could follow “Ain’t It Fun” as a Hot 100 smash. But will it? On the premiere episode of #AlternativeFacts, Billboard investigates.
“If the first day is any indication, it’s gonna do pretty well,” says Billboard rock charts manager Kevin Rutherford, chatting with #AlternativeFacts host Chris Payne about “Hard Times’” quick start on alternative radio. It’s too soon to tell if the new single will surge on Top 40 like “Ain’t It Fun” and “Still Into You,” but its neon-colored, disco-punk sheen gives it a solid chance. “A lot of the alt-rock songs that do cross over, at least in the last couple years, have that ‘80s slant to them,” Rutherford explains. “This one does [too].”
Payne also chats with a couple of Paramore fans around the office — Billboard associate editor Taylor Weatherby and Spin associate editor Jordan Sargent.
“It’s an interesting look for them — there’s not an act right now that’s doing that type of imagery,” says Sargent, speaking on the neon-colored, early MTV-style “Hard Times” video. “It goes back to an era that’s not being mined.” For Weatherby, “Hard Times” harkens back to Paramore’s breakthrough 2007 album, at least in quality: “This new song gives me hope I’ll love the new album as much as I loved Riot!”
Get ready for an in-the-know case study of all things Paramore in 2017 — discovering them in their earliest days, their ever-evolving lineup and what to expect from new album After Laughter, due May 12.
#AlternativeFacts is a new weekly Billboard podcast devoted to all things alternative music. Click here to subscribe to the #AlternativeFacts Podcast on iTunes. Let us know what you think on Twitter (@cpayneonaplane) and by rating the podcast on iTunes.
A new episode posts each Thursday, so check back April 27 for the next installment!