It has been about a month since Paramore (Hayley Williams) announced the plan to begin working on their fourth album. Meanwhile, I have had plenty of time to piece together a lot of different theories on what to expect from this long-awaited follow-up to, in my opinion, the extremely impressive Brand New Eyes. The group (whoever was present at the current time, at least) has always been able to focus in and deliver sensational results for the fans, time and time again – most often at a point when, well, times were tough. Currently, we have a trio (Hayley Williams, Jeremy Davis and Taylor York) consisting of just two original members (Davis and Williams). It was late 2010, if you’ll remember, when the brothers Josh and Zac Farro departed from the band. At that time, the remaining members decided to hold off on pumping out another album amidst all the controversy. The trio instead re-focused and took a bit of time to relax and re-acquaint themselves with their love for music…and more importantly, Paramore.
Before I share my thoughts and expectations on the upcoming album, I think it may be best to delve into the band’s history in at least partial detail. People say all the time that you can learn a thing or two from history, right?
Rather than go into too much detail (we all know how to use Wikipedia), let’s just do a quick wrap-up. Paramore formed in 2004 – founding members included Hayley Williams, guitarist Josh Farro, drummer Zac Farro, bassist Jeremy Davis and guitarist Jason Bynum. When they signed with Fueled By Ramen that year, Davis left the band before recording began. Josh Farro and Williams (the writers of the group) wrote “All We Know” which was the first song off the debut album All We Know is Falling. The track was in reference to Davis leaving the band shortly after the band’s signing. Of course after the record released on July 26, 2005, Davis returned to the band and has been a staple ever since. In the middle of all of this, Bynum left the band and was replaced with a personal favorite of mine, Hunter Lamb. Lamb was responsible for rhythm guitar for a bit of 2005, right up till Riot!’s release in June 2007. This was around the time that new member Taylor York started adding his skill-set to the band’s end product, mainly because Josh Farro was not able to fully undertake the lead and rhythm sections on his own. York toured with the band and was even responsible for some of the writing, but it was not until before September 2009’s release of Brand New Eyes that he was fully committed to the group (although, that is to be argued). With Brand New Eyes the now-quintet had been together since Riot! without any pause or disturbance. So, Paramore finally had a record that lacked any kind of dispute – or did they? Within the lines (or lyrics I should say), there was an obvious disconnect within the band. Take most songs on Brand New Eyes and it is clear as day. The surprising bit is that it took the Farro brothers over a year to depart after the release. Nevertheless, some kind of disturbance has plagued the band since its formation all those years ago.
This leads me to my calculation, or formula for success in regards to Paramore. As a self-proclaimed “founding fanboy,” it does pain me in a lot of ways to see so much change and drama within the group. However, the results have always been magnificent, which makes it extremely tough to cheer for normalcy. Where there is pain, there is growth – and where there is change, there is maturity. For that reason, I believe great things will come yet again for the band I hold so close to my heart.
But what will the new album sound like? Which of the three past records will it most closely compare with? In my estimation, there was a disconnect on the first (All We Know is Falling) which did not resonate entirely. Davis was back before too much time had passed to really notice. For Riot! Lamb did not play a large enough role to really demand a huge changeover when the new material presented itself. During all the success and the writing of Brand New Eyes is where a lot of issues started and it is where a large portion of passion and creation took place. Obviously everything post-Brand New Eyes has opened a lot of people’s eyes (lol) and for that reason, I feel the fourth album will most closely resemble the prior. I think it should be said, though, that this album will mark an entirely new group. While the main staple (Miss Williams) remains the face/voice of the band, I think that there is a definitive progression taking place. All in all, it is my best guess that the album will take all the respectable and lovable pieces of the group’s history and blend them together to form a unified and welcome addition to their collection.
Part of me really wishes for AWKIF part two. Even though it would not change the past seven years, it would make it feel like 2005 again. Back when all my friends called me crazy for saying “These kids are the real deal! They are going to be huge! Just wait.” I want the day-in, day-out Warped Tour summers with Paramore on some side-stage. I want the Philadelphia Flyers shirt from the “Pressure” video. Maybe Jeremy Davis can do the back flip, spin-move thing with Taylor York now that Josh Farro is gone. More than ever, I want the small hole-in-the-wall venues and random talks with the band before AND after the show. The one thing that will never change though: each new Paramore song I hear for the first time, always brings me back to those first times I heard the band all those years ago. For that reason alone, no matter what kind of product they come up with this year, or the next – it will be great.