Before we get into the review, a little house keeping.
This is a new little wrinkle I'm going to add to DOL. More music coverage. It's something I've wanted to do for a while, just haven't gotten around to it yet. Plus even though I listen to a ton of music, and IMO have a decent knowledge about the subject, I feel like my ability to give a traditional, inner workings review just isn't possible, so instead I'm just gonna talk about music in a way I feel comfortable. Sounds, comparisons to other music, and of course how it makes me feel. A true dozo spin to things. There has to be a market for this somewhere, damnit!
I do need to get back to my roots with more funny content, but I also think it's important to get more music coverage on here, as music is probably my favorite part about being alive, and is one of my big ideas for Barstool. I think they need more music coverage, and content with musicians to keep building the empire. Similarly to how SNL has a musical guest every week, and sometimes includes them in bits. But enough about that, don't need anybody stealing my idea.
So what's going to happen here is I'm going to give my honest spin the latest music and try to get more of my own voice out there. I'm going to try to cover more than just alt-rock, but that will be the majority of these. I don't want these to be your classic, traditional magazine album reviews, I just the opinion of ole dozie in the music game. Okay, let's get started!
Basics: "After Laughter" by Paramore. Released May 12. Fueled By Ramen.
Paramore has been a band that I kinda like, but never really truly dove into.
I know the majority of their singles, but not much more than that. I can remember being a sophomore in high school when they absolutely blew up with their album "Riot" that had "Misery Business" which was a landmark song in the late 00's emo/scene/whatever you want to call it movement. Even if you weren't into that kind of music you knew that song, as it was huge crossover hit. I'll still rock out to that whenever I hear it. It's a classic.
But with Paramore as a whole I've always liked their stuff that I heard on the radio, but never have listened to any of their albums through it's entirety before. Like I couldn't tell you a Paramore deep track for all the money in the world. Which means After Laughter is my first full on Paramore experience, and I gotta say, absolutely loved it. They shake off the "pop-punk" label in this record with a much more synthesized, 80's vibe to it. Still some very emotional lyrics, but with a little island twist to it. Very new-wave like. Extreme 80's sound to it. Also has little pieces of Blondie, RHCP, No Doubt, The 1975, and Haim mixed in.
The album kicks off with the lead single "Hard Times", which is quickly becoming one of my favorites after about 50 listens over the last month since it was released as a single. Between Hayley Williams vocals that and the little repetitive guitar riff, it's just a fun summer-y song, even given the lyric content, which makes it relatable to everybody. I mean who hasn't had hard times? I just can't help but sing along every time I hear it.
I absolutely love the keyboards before the initial break down into the chorus, but to me the beat is what makes the song to me. Such a cool combination of a pop-rocky song with some tropical island beats and riffs. This just needs Michael Scott on the steel drum.
After Laughter has a combination of still pretty "emo" lyrics at times in songs combined with a 80's sounding up-beat tempo. To me a lot of the album has like a calypso-emo vibe, which I actually dig a lot. Never heard anything quite like it. It's an album you can just listen to without skipping a song (for the most part), which I've done 3 times already.
Rose-Colored Boy just makes me think The 1975 with that opening. Kinda reminds me Love Me and The Sound. Ultimate dance through the pain song. It's like, this is how I feel, just let me feel it. Which I absolutely love. Obviously it'd be nice to be like the rose-colored boy, but sometimes, you simply just can't.
You want an infectious bass line to start? Check out Told You So. This song's make up is so unique to me, just so many different sounds, I cannot give it the proper credit it deserves with my simple brain but know it's single for a reason. This shit is catchy AF. The throw me into the fire part towards the end reminds me a lot of HAIM's "If I Could Change Your Mind". Cool video as well.
I can't help it, but Forgiveness just reminds me Anna Faris as Samantha James in "Just Friends".
It's obviously a lot better than that fake song from 2005 though. Although tbh it's not one of my favorites on After Laughter.
Fake Happy starts slow and accoustic then quickly shifts to a synth based story of how people just want to appear to be happy, when they actually aren't. The way I saw it was as a commentary of how fake happy people will try to portray themselves, especially in the age of social media. Something I think the majority of us, myself included have been guilty of. Just such an emotional, beautiful song. The line "If I smile with my teeth, bet you'd believe me, if I smile with my teeth, think I'd believe me?" speaks volumes.
On 26 we get a classic, stripped down Paramore, similar to "The Only Exception". This song has been a favorite of the few people I have already talked to the album about. While definitely kinda sad at times, I feel like it overall has a very positive message about holding onto hope, which is needed after songs like "Rose-Colored Boy" and "Fake Happy." I'm a big "the world sucks" guy at time too, but there definitely times where you gotta just try your best to be positive and not let all the shitty outside stuff bring you down, which I feel is very eloquently displayed in this song. First time I heard her say "They say that dreamin is free, but I wouldn't care what it cost me' that shit gave me goosebumps.
Pool is probably my favorite song on here as of now. Just from a composition standpoint. Love the intro chimes, the violin, and of course Hayley's vocals. Can't get enough of this one. The big comparison I've seen online a lot is an "80's only exception", which seems very fitting.
This one reminds me of Metric. I don't know all the Paramore drama but apparently this song is about drummer Zac Farro who left the band in 2010 and rejoined this year. Regardless the message rings true, we shouldn't hold onto grudges.
This is where the album starts to turn and get a little more towards Paramore's original sound. Definitely still has a little bit of the island vibe like the rest of the beginning, but after here I'd say those 80's/island vibes definitely begin to fade.
Idle Worship has that classic early Paramore sound. Nice changeup to have a little homage to their older sound. Doesn't sound like the rest of the album, but it's still an enjoyable track.
Awesome bass to start, then we're surprised to not hear Hayley Williams, can't really understand this one. Definitely has that school emo thing going. Forgettable if we're being honest. Album starts strong and then kinda fades off with stuff like this.
The album ends with the piano ballad "Tell Me How". How is Hayley supposed to feel after what feels like a breakup? After guitarist Jeremy Davis left the group in late 2015 and later became entrenched in a legal battle with Hayley Williams about compensation, it appears this song is a response to what happened. That is what I just got for a littler internet research. As for the song, I enjoyed it, but definitely like the more upbeat, as I called it "calypso-emo" much more
So that's it for the first official DOL album review, definitely still a work in progress. I don't know if I'll break down every song in the future. I just did that mainly because I had the first 7 or so songs done with that, and felt it'd be weird to just not do the entire thing. To me this album starts strong then kind of goes down a little towards the end. I'm just a big fan of the first nine songs, the last three are whatever to me. I'd definitely recommend checking this album After Laughter out. If I had to rank my three favorite songs I'd probably go Pool, Hard Times and Fake Happy.
Thanks for reading and let me know what you thought about After Laughter!