Paramore released a new song tonight! Woohoooooo! Hell yeah, this is the day we’ve all been waiting for since like 10 minutes after Brand New Eyes leaked! No really, that’s how impatient we music listeners are in this age. It’s okay guys, spoiler alert: It was worth the wait.
Anyways, “Now” is the first taste of Paramore’s self-titled full-length effort, their fourth LP for Fueled By Ramen Records. The pop-punk/emo/Tumblr community became extremely familiar with this group’s sound through the mid-2000s, but now it’s safe to say that all preconceived notions can be thrown out the window. The Farro brothers are gone, and now-lead guitarist Taylor York stepped up into a more influential songwriting role with Hayley Williams on this album. This is a hugely important difference, even after only hearing one song; Williams and York, who are a whopping 24 and 23 years old, respectively, seem to have completely reshaped Paramore’s sound this time around.
“Now” is poppier and dancier than any Paramore single we’ve heard before. Absent are the distorted, urgent guitar riffs that have become synonymous with this band’s previous leadoff singles. No, really, listen to the guitars in “Pressure,” “Misery Business” and “Ignorance” and how similar those songs are built: tagging in, we hear a driving, fuzzy, moody, indie-ish guitar line.
The song’s first verse is a constant build-up, with Williams’ vocals and Ilan Rubin’s drumming increasing in intensity slowly throughout. A second, higher-pitched guitar begins howling as Rubin really gets going behind the kit, catapulting us into the first full-fledged chorus. Williams, as we have grown to expect, shines beautifully here. The refrain of, “If there’s a future, we want it now” gets stuck in your head after only a couple times through the chorus, meaning you’re doomed to have it echoing in your eardrums by the time you’ve gone through the song once.
The bridge of “Now” is perhaps its most interesting part, and something that maybe suggests what else we might hear on other parts of this upcoming record. The bridge has a great hazy ambience to it, again building intensity as York and Rubin go nuts, but Williams’ last cry of, “There’s a time and a place to die, but this ain’t it,” steals the attention from everything else as the song’s final chorus gets underway.
Early comparisons in the blogosphere have suggested similarities to No Doubt; I find these to be relatively unfounded. “Now” is an emotionally heavier number, and Williams has hinted it’s one of the darkest songs we’ll find on Paramore. We all know Williams’ talent and what she sounds like, so the main point of interest here is the leap Paramore has taken musically. We have yet to hear something like this from the band, and it’s an interesting new chapter. As silly as it seems to use the word “mature” to describe a band of 23-year-olds, this is a group that is eight years removed from All We Know Is Falling. So yes, they’ve matured. If we have to compare the track to another female-fronted rock act, it’s not unfair to say there’s a bit of Metric coming out in the fuzzy, moody guitars on this single.
With what this band has gone through over the past year or so, it’s wholeheartedly refreshing to hear them come out with a banging first song that should dominate alt-rock radio for the next few months. It’s certainly not what fans might have been expecting, and something tells me this is only the first of many curveballs we’ll be hearing on Paramore. Really the only thing that you can logically expect from this album is, well, to be completely blindsided.
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