Since the release of their 2007 album Riot, Paramore has been one of my favorite bands. They specialize in creating driving, raw melodies overlaid with catchy, pop-punk vocals. There has been some turnover in the band over the past 5 years, but they have returned to their core sound. I am thrilled to see that they are back and making new music, with a self-titled album due out in April. After lead singer Hayley Williams’ mainstream breakout performance in B.o.B.’s Airplanes there was speculation that Paramore was going to go the way of No Doubt with Williams following the Gwen Stefani example and going on to solo stardom. I am truly glad to see that this is not the case, as I find that Williams vocal style has a forceful urgency to it that works perfectly in concert with the stripped down, guitar driven musicality of Paramore and wouldn’t seem as vibrant in a more over-produced and electronic format, designed to be more radio friendly.
Paramore’s new single Now is the band doing what they do best. The guitars constantly surge forward, and the pace of the song gets more and more insistent while Williams’ vocals ride the tempo changes and grab ahold of you as she turns up the intensity. This song seems like a throwback to earlier songs like Misery Business and CrushCrushCrush where there was a little more edge and grit to the music, whereas with some of the newer material like Brick by Boring Brick and The Only Exception there has been a cleaner, more polished sound. “Now” is a very good example of what makes Paramore a great band and it is a very promising preview to what I am hoping is a dynamic new album.