Today is the day! Paramore has released their fourth video from their 5th album "After Laughter" for "Rose Colored Boy".
Paramore has been testing the patience and sanity of fans for a few days now and let me tell you it was WORTH the stress and loss of sleep.
For those of you who don't know, Paramore released "After Laughter" in May of 2017, after 4 long years of waiting for a follow up to their Self Titled record. Paramore have totally given us what we didn't know we wanted but underneath it all we needed. "After Laughter" is in my opinion, the first time the band as a whole has stopped trying to be something. As a fan of the band, I never connected to the lyrics as much as most fans did, I was just there because the music was great and they've always been my favorite band, but for some reason I never felt connected the way others did. People who had "Last Hope" from "Self Titled" tattooed on them and would cry hearing "Hate to see your Heart Break", I never felt that and I felt GUILTY. I felt like I wasn't a good fan or what was I even doing. I never thought too much into it until this album cycle.
I saw Paramore perform as a two piece on Parahoy, I felt the emotion in the room that day, and that was the last time I think any of us will ever see that band again, because "After Laughter" is a total rebirth for them. Yes, Zac Farro has returned on the drums, but that wasn't what changed, the band just literally stopped caring about the bullshit, or at least they're doing a good job looking like they have. I said this in an episode and I still mean absolutely no disrespect, but this is the most genuine this band has ever been. I look back at pictures from past tours, I listened back to "Self Titled" on my 4 hour drive upstate when I was on the "Tour Two" tour for 2 weeks with my friends, and I just..didn't feel it? and it sucks because the band loved that album, they put everything into that album, but I listen to those radio hits and I listen to the more pop styled songs, and I just don't get the emotion I wish I could have.
"After Laughter" started out with a bang and gave us "Hard Times" the opening lines are "all that I want is to wake up fine/tell me that I'm alright/that I ain't gonna die" I mean, that alone as a first line is a far cry from "Self Titled". The entire song opens us up to a new era of a band that still has the same roots they always had, but they are not fucking around, this album is going to be so honest it might kill you. And to me, as someone who struggles with anxiety, I finally felt we were getting real here.
After "Hard Times", we were blessed with the most genius piece of music on the planet, "Told You So" and the second that song started, I IMMEDIATELY tweeted "it's only 3 seconds in and I know this is my favorite Paramore song" and I was right "for all I know/the best is over and the worst is yet to come." Another huge opening line. The video dropped moments after the song began, and it was the realest video I have ever seen. That video sums up what being depressed and anxious is like, and I was emotional. Here is a band I have loved since I was 11/12 and the singer I have grown up with and they are talking about mental illness.
If "Told You So" wasn't enough, we were graced with the video for "Fake Happy". The most honest song about hiding behind a mask and no longer wanting to fake it. The video terrifies me. I live in New York, where the video was shot, and I am almost 25 and I refuse to drive into the city because it makes me so anxious I could pass out. I don't even like walking with someone in the city in regular clothes, and yet here is Hayley in a sparkly leotard just living a day in the life. I experienced something similar when I saw them at Radio City Music Hall in October when I wore the jumpsuit like the members of Paramore wore on stage for "Jimmy Kimmel" and I went on stage and also walked the streets of NYC in it. I got comments from tons of weird random people, I felt so vulnerable and terrified, and this is my city. So, I took the "Fake Happy" video SUPER personal, and the end when they show the true meaning of "After Laughter" and Hayley's face drops to a frown at the end of the video. This video fucks you up on a lot of levels.
Now, we have "Rose Colored Boy" arguably Paramore's best music video. The song alone paints a picture of someone who is depressed or was depressed and the people around them not understanding and just wanting them to snap out of it, a common misconception about mental illness is you can just "be happy!" or "hey cheer up!" (wild, right!?) so the video pairing with it was heartbreaking. The entire video all three members show the faking it for the camera then going back to being fed up, Hayley has a breakdown moment in the middle where she sees a younger version of herself telling her this isn't who she is. And finally, she loses it and just says "fuck it" and then we get the classic "after laughter" smile to real stare on her face.
"After Laughter" is Paramore's most relatable piece of work, it is their most authentic, it is the most real. There is little to no promo for the record, it didn't get nominated for a Grammy, it isn't plastered everywhere, the band just wanted to make a record. And, that's not to say all their previous work is bullshit or it's not good or unworthy of anything, but I don't know if they were able to make a record like "After Laughter" until 2016/2017. I just like the idea of not proving to anyone who they think you are or who they wish you were or the projection of you they always liked and just being who you really are. No facade, no capes or latex, just real emotion and vulnerability. Being vulnerable is fucking terrifying, and to put out and album that says how much things are shit for you right now is bold as hell and it should have the respect it deserves.
This album cycle will go down in history for the band, I don't know what is after it, but regardless, they did something so huge and groundbreaking, we don't see artists or bands doing this often, people are often scared of being vulnerable or scared of what the fans or public think, and Paramore in 2017/2018 isn't scared of anything anymore.