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kevin.mayorga    ORIGINAL GONGSTER

Review: "Hard Times" by Paramore

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I’ll be reviewing Paramore’s new single “Hard Times” from their upcoming album, After Laughter.

The band Paramore recently released a new music video for their new single “Hard Times”, from their fifth and upcoming album After Laughter. 

Holy hell, let me tell you all, this is a very catchy song. 

Right off the bat, the intro really confused me. I really wasn’t expecting those instruments giving such a Caribbean vibe and a hint of Steelpan. 

I can’t really tell, but it’s definitely a Steelpan or a marimba playing the beginning notes. Maybe some kind of keyboard? Moving on… 

With just the colors and aesthetic of the song, it’s very 80s. When the drums kick in, I immediately started to get it. It was a very cool step forward considering where they left off with their fourth and self-titled album. 

It’s very simple instrumentation in the verses, as the guitar plays a few notes and bar chords and the drums just groove. The bass is really bouncy, how it keeps us dancing and bobbing. 

When we reach the chorus, I remembered a comment a friend told me, that they sounded, 

“A bit like The 1975”

I have yet to digest The 1975 completely to understand their sound, but I do get the basic gist. 

Honestly, it does sound like them a bit. The last part of the chorus, 

“And I gotta get to rock bottom” 

made me feel like if the song was by Talking Heads. That’s how 80's this song has gotten! The keyboard notes in this song remind of CHVRCHES, especially in the bridge and the ending. 

Overall it’s a very nice tune! The video is just crazy, with all these vibrant and delicious colors making it funny to watch, in my opinion. It reminds me of some shows I saw as a kid on PBS or something. 

My interpretation of the video, is that the smashed car in the beginning represents one giving up and burning out and the song is the thoughts of the person. 

DIYmag explained the song lyric-wise, saying the song is, 

“About the feeling of going through hard times, and being useless in achieving one's goals”

If we add some heavier guitars, less groove to dance to, and more range in the vocal lines, “Hard Times” is very similar to earlier Paramore work. 

This song is confirming that Paramore is still the same band that it started off as: emo and alternative rock, but with a natural evolution due to lineup changes. 

Right now, it’s only Hayley Williams (vocals), Taylor York (guitars), and Zac Farro (drums). 

When members leave, it can cause changes to how you write music. Taylor played drums and keyboards when they last had three members. It’s a strain, but it can also open new doors. 

I’m not saying it’s always good, as sometimes it can lead to bad albums. In this case, I honestly see Paramore enjoying their direction, and I enjoy it too! 

I can understand if people feel that the band “sold out” or isn’t what they used to be, but let’s face it: bands change all the time. There’s no escape from change. Whether it be members, music, or lifestyles, it happens. 

Personally, I prefer Paramore’s earlier stuff, but this new direction excites me! I have high expectations for this 5th album.

Thanks for reading! What’s your take on this song?

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neal and hayley.gola
kevin.mayorga
Kevin Mayorga is a musician and a music nerd, always looking to expand his knowledge. He also enjoys video games on the side, with a dash of philosophy and food.
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