Well, it has finally happened. Paramore fully admitted that they are the pop band we always knew they were. And you know what? They put together one of the best records of 2017 so far to announce it.
After Laughter is the best of Paramore’s five studio albums. It’s first Paramore album to really use Hayley Williams’ terrific voice and the first album on which the band was sufficiently free as to not drag back Williams’ vocals. But it’s not an album that the fans who think Riot’s punk pop angst is the epitome of Paramore will like. Still, if you like pop and give it a chance, you will find something that gets you dancing, or at least listening raptly.
The thing that marks a great pop album for most people is a lot of great hooks and catchy melodies, which After Laughter has in abundance. The lead single “Hard Times” is a perfectly fine pop song with hooks and catch galore, and a fine leadoff. But the payoff is later on the album, with some really great songs like the sardonically cheerful “Told You So”, the honestly introspective “Forgiveness”, and the gorgeous acoustic “26”. There are 12 tracks on this album and I honestly love 9 of them.
Recommendation: Buy It
Songs I have a Playlist for: Hard Times, Rose-colored Boy, Told You So, Forgiveness, Fake Happy, 26, Pool, Grudges, Tell Me How
Songs I would Thumbs down: None.