Paramore shot to international fame when they released their double-platinum sophomore album Riot! back in 2007. Of the 11 track list, “Misery Business” was their most popular track, catching the attention of Alt. Rock and Pop Punk heads alike (especially after the release of the music video, which captured the unbashful attitude of this sub-20 year old band). Their loud grunge-y guitars, unapologetic lyrics (“When I thought he was mine, she caught him by the mouth”) and their stage presence of swinging guitars and brightly-coloured pants; all reflected their punk ethos. Lead singer, Hayley Williams, was also an instant media favourite, having a reputation of a fiery-haired, 5-octave vocal powerhouse, uncommon for a petite 17-year-old.
This attention on Miss Williams eventually spelt large successes for the band following the album’s release, but also moments of highly-publicised drama. Fans would be first to confirm that Paramore’s evolving sound from one album to the next is highly intertwined with its revolving band members.
The graph depicts the percentage of Punk/Rock vs Pop/Indietronica songs in every album:
All We Know Is Falling (2005) – 95% Rock, 5% Pop
Riot! (2007) – 79% Rock, 21% Pop
Brand New Eyes (2009) – 90% Rock, 10% Pop
Paramore (2013) – 60% Rock, 40% Pop
After Laughter (2017) – 27% Rock, 72% Pop
‘Punk/Rock’ is used here as an umbrella term including subgenres such as Emo, Punk Pop, Alternative Rock and Pop Rock, while ‘Pop/Indietronica’ contains Indie, Indietronica, Electropop and Contemporary Pop.
Since their debut All We Know Is Falling, the number of Punk/Rock songs have dropped steadily with the largest dip at their 2013 self-titled album. No surprise there, seeing that the Farro brothers left three years prior, a time where Paramore went from a 5-piece to 3-piece band. When Pop/Indietronica eventually overtook Punk/Rock in After Laughter, bassist Jeremy Davis left and half of the Farro brothers, Zac Farro, came back.
Paramore is not the only band whose crew history was reflected in their music: Dream Theater, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Metallica were also examples of that. That only goes to show that a band’s music is indeed the sum of its parts, and every member brings something to the table.
It’s also important to note that when tagging music, you shouldn’t judge a book by its (album) cover. In fact, every piece of music should be individually categorised and by it’s own sound. Calling Paramore a punk band, or an indietronica band wouldn’t be strictly correct, especially when you consider how they’ve evolved. Appreciating the nuances and shifts in sounds over time however, means a catalogue of music will be tagged in a much more cohesive and accurate manner.