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Paramore’s Hayley Williams: New Songs Less ‘Toiled and Troubled’

Paramore / Photo by Lindsey Byrnes

Paramore’s Hayley Williams has taken some time out from working on her band’s upcoming fourth album — and helping fun. do the billion-and-oneth Gotye cover — to praise Alabama Shakes and offer further insight into the new Paramore record.

Answering questions submitted by a fan on Buzznet (via NME), Williams said that while her favorite band has long been Philadelphia post-hardcore outfit mewithoutYou, “my love for music stemmed from old Motown artists like the Temptations. Right now, I’m loving Alabama Shakes ’cause they’ve got those vibes but it’s grittier. So great.” Our reviewer pretty much agreed. (Read SPIN’s Breaking Out profile of Alabama Shakes.)

Williams has previously revealed that Paramore are recording the follow-up to 2009’s Brand New Eyes with former Beck/Nine Inch Nails bassist Justin Meldal-Johnsen, who produced French artist M83’s latest dream-pop heart-tugger, 2011’s Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming. Now she says the band has finished one song with Meldal-Johnsen — and had a blast doing it. “That time in the studio was easily the most relaxed, inspired, and liberating experiences we have had in any studio thus far,” she enthuses. Would it be selfish to wish the experience could be a bit less relaxed, a little more productive? Like, where’s Phil Spector when you need him, right? (Oh … right. Never mind.)

Paramore’s fiery-voiced and -haired frontwoman also suggested the theme of the new album could be a bit more optimistic. “I am laughing things off a lot more easily these days than I was at 19, when I wrote the last album,” she observes. “A lot of change… a lot of positivity. Even the songs with the more serious subject matter feel less toiled and troubled.”

Williams continues: “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.”

The featured vocalist from B.o.B’s 2010 hit “Airplanes” also offers up kind words for HBO’s Lena Dunham-led series Girls (she says she’s “obsessed”) and expresses excitement for Paramore’s scheduled gig this summer at the U.K. Reading and Leeds festival. “We play, literally, right before the Cure,” Williams notes. “Someone is going to have to help me stand up when I see Robert Smith.”

In the meantime, fans who’ve waited through Paramore’s performance at Fueled by Ramen’s 15th anniversary show, occasional videos, Taylor Swift duet, and singles club releases might want to stay seated. Writing about the album last month, Williams said, “We cannot assure you it will be out this year.” Sure, the Temptations at their peak were putting out a couple of albums a year, but not without it taking a terrible toll on the group. We guess we’ll have to try to be patient just a little bit longer.