Paramore Return with "Hard Times" and a Poppy New Direction

It's the first track from their fifth album 'After Laughter,' due May 12.
Lauren O'Neill
London, GB
April 19, 2017, 2:43pm

Paramore are back and, sorry, excuse me, they have an announcement to make: they're a pop band now. A while back, the band—newly reunited with original drummer Zac Farro—registered a bunch of new songs for copyright, and these new songs looked very much like they might make up the tracklist of a new album. Today that album has been confirmed as After Laughter, their fifth, due on May 12.

They're leading with the first single "Hard Times," and if, over their last album or so, they've been departing from their emo roots (though "Crushcrushcrush" will live on forever), "Hard Times" seems to point to them having ditched them entirely. It's pop in that 80's-inflected vein made popular by the stratospheric critical rise of Carly Rae Jepsen, and *Seinfeld voice* not that there's anything wrong with that (it's a good song!), it's synth-led rather than guitar-focused, and Hayley's trademark roar of a vocal feels sadly closed-in, switched out for a fun chorus melody and a Talking Heads-esque spoken line.

So while it seems that the band's influences have grown up, along with their audience and themselves, it's hard not to feel like the change of direction might mean that the very best parts of Paramore might get a little bit lost in this new candy-colored world. Either way, listen to "Hard Times" (and see the music video) below:

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(Image via YouTube)