Nearly four years after the release of their last album and with two fewer members in their lineup, Paramore at last returns with their fourth album, the self-titled “Paramore” (out April 9 via Fueled by Ramen/Atlantic Records). As usual, it’s a punk-rock set focusing on the best and worst parts of love, the angst that comes along with the uncertainty of the future, and being totally against whoever suggests they conform to, well, anything.
Though content-wise not much has changed, musically they have grown plenty. Paramore has never had much trouble with creating monster choruses, but their chops on both guitars and drums have been upped several notches. So has their ability to blend genres: songs swirl with hints of R&B, country, and hard rock on their latest effort, but it’s still as accessible as any of their other albums.
Which songs on “Paramore” are great listens? Check out Billboard.com’s extensive track-by-track breakdown of the band’s new album.
1. Fast in My Car – The album opens strong with a rebellious anthem. “Been through the ringer a couple times,” Hayley Williams opens, “I came out callous and cruel.” The music, with shredding guitar bits and thumping drums, fits the lyrics perfectly.
“If there’s a future, we want it now,” Williams demands on this fervent track’s huge chorus. It recalls their “Misery Business” jam of yore, but is surely a progression on their rebel pop sound with its distorted guitar and tormented verses.
3. Grow Up – This the first cut of the bunch that has more of a fun bounce to it than the anger that propels the two songs prior. Still, some mild irritation is present in Williams’ delivery. “I’m not a little girl no more,” she sings after drying her tears and realizing she’s got to drop some old friends to progress as person.
4. Daydreaming – Teetering between mid-tempo and ballad status, this track’s a sweet cut about building a world that matches the ones constructed in fantasies. It’s not as whimsical as its subject matter, but solid nonetheless.
5. Interlude: Moving On – This 90-second gem is a simple one, featuring acoustic strums on the guitar and a basic drum kick, while Williams coolly kisses off an old flame. “I could be angry, but you’re not worth a fight,” she sings. “And besides, I’m moving on.”
6. Ain’t It Fun – “Ain’t it fun living in the real world,” Williams asks sarcastically to a spoiled brat discovering that the world doesn’t revolve around them. Some xylophone taps and choir-like delivery on the bridge make this more than your average rock song.
7. Part II – This song’s the sequel to “Let the Flames Begin” from their “Riot” album, opening with the same “What a shame” line. “I will catch fire to let your glory and mercy shine,” Williams sings—ready to sacrifice her happiness for others. It’s a sullen cut, but its frenetic drum and guitar solos are fit for an action sequence in any Michael Bay film.
8. Last Hope – This one opens faintly with a few synths and guitar strums. Then the drums kick in, as does a twinkling riff. “The salt in my wounds isn’t burning any more than it used to,” Williams sings, suggesting that the lack of new pain is encouraging enough to believe that brighter days are coming.
9. Still Into You
The second single from “Paramore” is an uptempo love anthem, fit for couples that have been together for a good while through ups and downs. “Recount the night that I first met your mother,” Hayley remembers. “And on the drive back to my house, I told ya that, I told ya that I loved ya.”
10. Anklebiters – The hip-hop community refers to naysayers as “Haters,” but Paramore calls them “Anklebiters”—folks who prey on other people’s actions. “Someday you’re going to be the only one that you’ve got,” Williams sings to those that should rely on their own thoughts and not what anklebiters are saying.
11. Interlude: Holiday – A ukulele, bass, and claps are all the instruments heard on this simple, brief cut about maturing from a high school kid to an adult, then enjoying some time off. “I don’t plan on coming back,” Williams sings nonchalantly and smoothly.
12. Proof – Just as listeners are nearly cooed to sleep on the prior cut, Hayley and co. kick back in with a rock song where the singer takes her man deep-sea diving, with only love acting as their safety gear. “Proof” sores to a big finish with a call and response bridge. “Now do you love me,” she asks. “Yeah,” she hears back. Their audience likely will say the same.
13. Hate to See Your Heart Break – This is one of the album’s lone ballads and almost feels like a country song. Williams moseys down memory lane and sings about how love can hurt all. “Love happens all the time,” she mourns. “To people who aren’t kind/And heroes who are blind.”
14. (One of Those) Crazy Girls – This cut’s a few acts away from being something out of “Fatal Attraction”: Williams plays the role of a girl that refuses to be broken up with, threatening to break into her ex’s home so that she can “go through your closet so I can smell your skin.” Yikes, right?
15. Interlude: I’m Not Angry Anymore – This interlude is another short ukulele ditty where Williams wavers between being bitter and tooth-rottening sweet.
16. Be Alone – On this raucous offering, Williams sings of how her and her beau should be alone, together. “You should me alone with me,” she suggest. “We could be alone and never get too lonely.”
17. Future – This nearly eight-minute cut begin quietly, encouraging listeners to keep looking ahead and following their dreams as light guitar riffs pluck along — but then morphs into a furious hard rock session, free of lyrics. It’s a proper end to the set—gentle and aggressive all at once.