There's always room for change, and 2017 has seen artists changing up their vibes left and right. After a long four year wait since their last release, Paramore is back and ready to take over. They have reinvented their style and brought back drummer Zac Farro for a fresh new - or old - sound. Paramore channels the 80s in their new song 'Hard Times.'
'Hard Times' is a pretty interesting change of sound for Paramore. While it may seem pretty out there, it does seem to be the natural way they were going. After their pop rock and almost indie rock hits 'Ain't It Fun' and 'Still Into You' hit it big on their last record Paramore in 2013, it's only natural that they'd keep making a few songs in that style. The lineup also seems to support this new change - Farro has been delving into electronic and indie projects in his time away from Paramore, and their producer Justin Meldal Johnsen also has a history of some electronic and indie bands.
'Hard Times' has a lot of 80s and 90s vibes going on in it. Pretty much everything about the track lives in that era, right down to the fun aesthetic of the music video. The video itself is full of color and animation, colors flashing happily throughout various objects and the band members to punctuate the dynamics of the song. Hayley Williams' delivery isn't too unfamiliar - her signature timbre and pseudo-poetic lyrics still make the song their own. The guitars are very funky, embodying the jazz structures from the 90s right down to the signature solo progression at the end of the track.
Something doesn't sit right with 'Hard Times' for me, though. I support the band's experimentation, but 'Hard Times' just doesn't have a classic Paramore vibe to it. It's like an 80s song with Paramore lyrics, and at times it just sounds jarring. The most striking thing is that for a track that's not meant to be slow, it lacks that energy the band always has. Granted, it's replaced with groove, but it just seems so out of character. Bands change though, so it's definitely not the end of the world, and its refreshing to see they're not afraid to try new things. Whoever thought of the "and I gotta get to rock bottom" line, though; they need a strict talking to.
If you put Paramore lyrics over an 80s track, you'd have 'Hard Times.' It's a big change for Paramore, but they do seem comfortable and confident in themselves and the track. It's not my cup of tea, but it's not a horrible track. And if the band's back catalogue has anything to say about it, their new album will definitely be diverse with plenty of songs that have a sweet mix of the new style and old. Paramore's new album After Laughter is out on May 12. We'll be waiting with open ears until then.
Rating: 70 / 100
Buy or listen to 'Hard Times' here: