By Liz Cochran

Our Favorite Records Part 5: "After Laughter" by Paramore

In the summer of 2017, Paramore released their fifth studio album, "After Laughter," marking a significant departure from their previous sound. Fans were greeted with a vibrant landscape that blended pop, new wave, and funk influences, but more importantly, they were taken on an emotional rollercoaster exploring themes of resilience, self-discovery, and the pursuit of happiness. As we delve into the heart of "After Laughter," we discover a profound musical evolution that captures the band's journey through hardship and the triumphant emergence into a brighter chapter.

Paramore has always been known for their versatility, but "After Laughter" represented a seismic shift in their musical direction. The album boasts a palette of '80s-inspired synths, catchy guitar riffs, and infectious rhythms, all anchored by Hayley Williams' unmistakable vocals. The band's willingness to experiment with new sounds resulted in an album that felt both fresh and nostalgic, a perfect encapsulation of the emotional rollercoaster the band was experiencing during its creation.

The title, "After Laughter," itself suggests a deeper exploration of emotions beneath the surface. The lyrics delve into personal struggles, relationships, and the complexity of navigating life's challenges. Songs like "Hard Times" and "Told You So" resonate with an honesty that is both relatable and empowering, showcasing the band's ability to turn personal pain into universal anthems of resilience.

Hayley Williams, the band's lead vocalist, played a pivotal role in shaping the album's narrative. In interviews, she spoke openly about her battles with mental health and the internal conflicts that influenced the creative process. "After Laughter" became a cathartic outlet for Williams, allowing her to explore her own vulnerabilities while connecting with listeners on a profound level. This transparency not only strengthened the emotional impact of the album but also fostered a sense of community among fans facing similar struggles.

While the album confronts pain and hardship, it also carries an undertone of hope. Tracks like "Rose-Colored Boy" and "26" capture the essence of finding strength in vulnerability and embracing the beauty within life's imperfections. The juxtaposition of introspective lyrics and upbeat melodies creates a dynamic listening experience that mirrors the complexity of the human experience.

In a world that often celebrates superficial happiness, Paramore invites listeners to explore the depths of their emotions and find strength in vulnerability. The album's legacy extends beyond its release, serving as a reminder that even in the darkest times, there's always a chance for a new beginning, a new melody, and, ultimately, a new chapter filled with hope and resilience.

You can get your copy of Paramore’s After Laughter here.