Paramore’s ‘Surreal’ Fourth Album Is Finished
Singer Hayley Williams says the LP "is an answered prayer."
Paramore’s “less toiled and troubled” album could make its debut in 2013, now that the band have wrapped recording it. Frontwoman Hayley Williams confirmed the follow-up to 2009’s brand new eyes will soon cross the finish line by tweeting on November 1, “Getting ready to walk out these studio doors for the last time. #album4.” Guitarist Taylor York tweeted soon after: “So we finished tracking our fourth album. This is surreal. Stoked. I am exhausted. I hope you love it. K bye.”
The fourth studio LP follows the contentious exit of two of the pop-punk band’s founding members, brothers Josh and Zac Farro, in 2010. (Drummer Zac has since put out a markedly un-Paramore-like solo EP and tried to make peace with his former bandmates). After a year off performing live, the trio of Williams, York, and bassist Jeremy Davis headed back into the studio in April with producer Justin Meldal-Johnsen, who last produced M83’s Best of 2011 album, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming and who may usher in a new era of decade-spanning, genre-bending experimentation for the band.
In an interview with Electronic Musician, Meldal-Johnsen said, “They don’t need to be a pop-punk band anymore. They can do their own ideas.” He added, “All I’m really trying to say is that we’re not trying to deliberately lose their natural commerciality. I am here to articulate their vision for a step of growth. I’m not afraid to put a guitar through a modular synth, for instance. I want the album to sound very visceral and a little bit less locked down and computerized — more 1981 than 2012, with a nod to 2016.”
The new sound is reflective of the new, relaxed creative process Williams detailed in a blog post published on Paramore’s website earlier this year. “In case you can’t tell, we’re working on a pretty strange schedule, by our standards,” she wrote. “Usually, we are rushing to make a very strict deadline which so far has just not been right this record.”
Back in May, the fire-haired bandleader gushed to Buzznet about what was taking place in the studio this time around, calling it “the most relaxed, inspired, and liberating experiences we have had … thus far.” She reinforced that comment this October, tweeting, “So many exciting things happening in the studio today I just wanna break stuff in the best way possible. This album is an answered prayer.”
Her songwriting, too, has changed as a result: “I am laughing things off a lot more easily these days than I was at 19, when I wrote the last album,” she admitted. “A lot of change… a lot of positivity. Musically, I am most inspired by the personality captured in every instrument. That, to me, is actually what is making up this newer sound that is happening.”
When Paramore recently returned to the stage, the trio performed an 18-song set — including “Monster,” their furious contribution to the Transformers: Dark of the Moon soundtrack — but did not show off any new material slated for album number four. Late last year, Paramore dropped three new songs from 2011’s “Monster” sessions as a 7″-vinyl box set: “Renegade,” “Hello Cold World,” and the autobiographical acoustic “In the Mourning.“