For The Lolz (Paramore, After Laughter review)

A friend of mine once told me that the kinds of music you prefer to listen to can tell you a lot about your personality, maturity and proclivities.

Not to mention all of the hundreds of articles and quizzes out there which claim to predict your personality based on how you answer certain questions. For instance, someone who listens to classical music would be typified as smart, hip hop fans are extroverts, and punk rockers are intense, energetic, and low on empathy.

Here’s an example, for the lolz.

 

Paramore – After Laughter

released May 12, 2017
******** 8/10

Paramore are an American rock band. Led by vocalist Hayley Williams, guitarist Taylor York, and drummer Zac Farro, they have seen more than their fair share of lineup changes over a thirteen year career. Have released five studio albums to-date, After Laughter is their most 80’s influenced and pop rock styled recording. Consider their greatest single Ain’t It Fun – which was released with the fourth album, 2013’s Paramore.

That track was the single greatest predecessor for all of the fun Paramore are having on this latest album.

So what does it sound like you ask? Well, it’s a combination of pop, emo pop, pop rock, alternative rock, and indie rock. So according to that personality test, it means that Paramore are outgoing and nervous, creative and curious, but have low self-esteem.

Apparently this test is working out for me because I would have to agree with all of that. This is a very upbeat and creative album, exploring a ton of different topics includes the oft ignored arenas of mental health and suicide. It’s a more mature vibe and different then what we’ve seen from Paramore on previous outtings, with Hard Times exemplifying the high energy and shift into synth and the odd. Further demonstrated by Rose-Coloured Boy, the track has a pop music tonality, with Williams showcasing her chops to keep the tempo up, but if you listen to the lyrics she is coming from a place of depression and anxiety. It’s chilling really.

Told You So continues in the same fashion, with a sobering outlook on the future and no expectations for more from life. It’s almost as if the bard are using pop music as a vehicle to showcase the challenges in pretending to be happy all the time, when the internal battle is far more difficult and filled with disparaging thoughts.

Forgiveness, Fake Happy, and 26 all channel 1980s movie soundtracks like something that Blondie would have featured in or better yet, Madonna. Before she really went grunge in the 1990s. Forgiveness in particular is quite powerful as a ballad, and easily one of the albums best, especially when paired with Pool, which I think sandwiches that section of the record quite well.

This album really does mark a shift for the band and while the ska and reggae towards the end of the record seemingly come from no where in Caught In The Middle, it’s fucking brilliant. Reminding me of early No Doubt and The Mighty Mighty Bosstones.

 

Pros: Moving away from their grunge-rock ways was a ballsy move from Paramore, but if anybody has the vocal range to play in the 1980s, its Hayley Williams. And while Idle Worship tells us they might not like themselves anymore, I still think they’re pretty damn cool. *Hugs*

Cons: I don’t really know where No Friend fits in this album, it’s kind of an odd duck, black sheep and red mark on an otherwise perfectly tuned effort. Also kind of slow? And ominous?

Runtime: 43 minutes

Points of Interest: After Laughter marks the return of former drummer Zac Farro to the band, as he recorded drums for the album and officially returned in February 2017 as a full member. Hard Times is the first single and Told You So is the second single.

I’ll admit I didn’t really pay attention to Paramore much when I was younger, which is odd given that they cite certain bands which I personally like as influences – Fall Out Boy, Blink-182, Death Cab for Cutie, Jimmy Eat World, Thrice and New Found Glory. Plus Hayley Williams takes personal inspiration from the  likes of the Ramones, Blondie and The Cure. For realz. I think John from ARTV said it best by declaring this an album that doesn’t sound like Paramore, but which is a good album nonetheless.

theories Summarized

Paramore are pop punk for the 21st century. They do all of the things that punk music are supposed to do, rhythm, high energy and tackling social issues, while having the fun, heart, and catchiness of pop music. That they’ve been able to transition into other areas of pop music while keeping the messages alive demonstrate their character and willingness to make meaningful music. The kind that makes you laugh heartily.

Tim!

Film Personality Tests? (Cross Talk Ep. 11)

Have you ever taken one of those standardized personality tests, dear readers? You know the ones – Myers Briggs, Jung, Eysenck, Keirsey, Rorschach, True Colors. The list goes on, and on. There quite literally dozens of these tests. Now, I’m going to let you in on a little secret, some of these tests are rooted in psychological practices and some are less so.

I know it’s incredibly surprising to learn that the list you love might be coming from a pseudo-science. But #realtalk. People lie on the internet.

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People love to take tests that might reveal some insight that has supposedly been hidden from them. They get really excited when they find a quiz about Game of Thrones houses, the Marvel hero they are most like, the Harry Potter patronus they should have, and heck, even the most commonly used words that are associated with their identity, based on their first name, of course. Now I recognize that most of us realize there is little validity to these pop culture related tests(at least I hope most of us), but people have fun with them. So no harm, no foul right?

Well like anything in life, the answer is mostly definitely going to be… it depends.

If you’re taking these tests to reinforce some deeply rooted ideas you have about life, then I can most assuredly tell you that you need to check yourself, before you wreck yourself. On the other hand, if taking these tests reminds you to be a better person, than I won’t stand in the way of progress.

But let’s consider another challenge with tests like this; they often make sweeping generalizations, ones that mean almost nothing intelligible. So there’s that too. Which is why this episode of Cross Talk is going to flip all of that on it’s head. We’re going to use movies, to showcase why certain movies give you emotional triggers, common generalization people make about films, how making judgments about peoples tastes in movies can hurt, and some insights into your personality versus your tastes in movies.

This is episode eleven of Cross Talk, and like any good personality test, it’ll make you laugh, smile, and think. That afterglow will be worth it, you can count on it. But don’t take my standardized word for it – Retake the test later and (C) what I would say if you chose (A) throughout.

I’m out of theories once again, but please check back tomorrow for an album review by a mathcore band… Whatever that means to you. Please comment, subscribe, and share this with friends. We want to hear your feedback!

Tim!