Verdict: 2 / 5
For any band, releasing an album after band members have left can be a trying experience. Any mistake for fans can be labeled as a reason why those members were so important, and any success is mistaken for simply playing off of their past successes. Of course, when it comes to Paramore, the leaving of the Farro brothers may go down with fans as: “Huh? Were those the guys behind Hayley Williams?”
With their newest self-titled album, Paramore may have in fact reacted to these events in the best way possible. With an album containing a mighty 17 tracks, each song seems disconnected from the others; an experiment in its own right to try out different styles and see what works and what doesn’t. The variety helps the fact that the singles don’t tie together very well, and there will probably be a couple of songs you like when you don’t like others; the amount helps with that.
I have a very odd feeling about Paramore, which I don’t think has been helped by this album. I have the feeling that they’re the Rock n Roll equivalent of One Direction in some ways. I legitimately don’t mean that as an insult to either group of fans, One Direction produces some pretty catchy pop tracks; as Paramore does for Rock. However, both are managed and produced and presented in a certain way to the extent that the music can end up feeling very generic and safe. No real risks are taken, subject matter is predictable and you can be assured of what you’re getting. They play it safe, like the McDonalds of music. Which again, is not bad, but its not especially great either, its average in the truest meaning of the word.
“Average” often gets taken to mean “bad.” It’s far different, the best I can feel about this album is indifferent. Hayley has a nice voice, there’s some energy in the tracks; but nothing inspires me, nothing challenges me or energizes me or excites me. I have very little emotional response to Paramore, but at the same time they don’t anger me either. They just are.