They’re still not even 30, but Paramore‘s career has already lasted more than 12 years. They’ve gained and lost members, traversed various different styles – emo, rock, pop – and recently put out their fifth album ‘After Laughter‘. Throughout their tumultuous existence, the band has produced consistently quality material – here’s their 10 best tracks to date.
10. ‘Told You So’
“For all I know, the best is over and the worst is yet to come.” So runs the damaged first line of ‘Told You So’, the second taste of fifth album ‘After Laughter’, which sees the group packing in the emo heaviness and shooting instead for upbeat pop bangers via feather-light guitar lines. This is the sound of Paramore having fun in spite of the band’s baggage – and it’s irresistible.
9. ‘The Only Exception’
A bit like Muse’s ‘Falling Away With You’, this is a lovely little breather on an otherwise blustering album. Taken from 2009’s ‘Brand New Eyes’, ‘The Only Exception’ begins on a set of pensive acoustic guitar chords and builds into a tender love song: “I like that I was able to express the fact that I have always been really afraid of love,” Williams said in 2010. “It’s not like I’m a total cynic! Love is a good thing.”
8. ‘Still Into You’
From the band’s self-titled fourth album in 2013, this one starts with an angry, off-kilter riff, then breaks into an uncharacteristically sweet chorus about having butterflies on your crush. <3
7. ‘That’s What You Get’
Flipping between 3/4 and 4/4 time signatures, this laudably strange single from 2007’s ‘Riot!’ had its lyrics written by a competition winner called Michael Benedict.
The furious lead single from the band’s 2009 album ‘Brand New Eyes’ is notable for its astounding lyrical velocity and ridiculously memorable constituent parts. Verse? Great. Pre-chorus? Great. Chorus? Even better, thanks to Hayley Williams’ inimitable delivery on “just like“ – and then there’s the vicious mantra that gives the song its title: “Ignorance is your new best friend.” Perhaps Williams herself put it best when she described the track for Alternative Press: “‘Ignorance'”, she said, “is like word-vomit.”
So angsty! So three-chordy! On this track about – you guessed it – a crush, Williams snarls: “If you wanna play it like a game, well, come on, come on, let’s play” It’s all encapsulated in the tiny gap between the whispered “crush“es and the guttural “2, 3, 4” seconds later. This song is incorrigibly, gorgeously emo. Give in.
4. ‘Brick by Boring Brick’
Definitely the most fun digging holes with shovels has ever sounded, this stormer can mainly be summed up by its volume-heavy “BA-DA-BA BA-DA BA-BA-DA“s, which you won’t forget in a hurry.
3. ‘Hard Times’
When the first taste of fifth album ‘After Laughter’ arrived in April 2017, it was hard to believe this was Paramore. The trio once more included drummer Zac Farro, after several years out, and perhaps to mirror their shifting lineup, they’d replaced gnarly guitar riffs with marimba, bongos and blooming shots of colour. The result is a strangely joyous embrace of adversity: “I still don’t know how I even survive hard times,” Williams yells repeatedly, “And I gotta get to rock bottom.” It’s a riot.
2. ‘Ain’t It Fun’
Paramore’s highest charting single to date also contains one of their funkiest guitar riffs – inspired by their sometime support band Dutch Uncles, they say – and a full-blown gospel choir. “Don’t go crying to your mama cos you’re on your own in the real world” they chant together, taking this dose of reality double Platinum in America.
1. ‘Misery Business’
The oldie that’s both a goodie and a baddie. Like ‘Ignorance’, 2007’s ‘Misery Business’ is a speeding lyrics train with a brilliant riff – but this one’s savage lines tell a story about a girl who steals a man for fun: “It was never my intention to brag / To steal it all away from you now / But God, does it feel so good / Cause I got him where I want him now.” Williams has explained, “I’m not the same person I was when I wrote it,” and she’s even expressed embarrassment at its lyrical content, but it remains their signature track.