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Paramore released their fifth album ‘After Laughter’ on May 12, 2017. (Photo provided via @PopCrave on Twitter)

Every song from Paramore’s ‘After Laughter,’ ranked

Recently, Paramore’s frontwoman Hayley Williams took to Twitter to hint at the band’s return to the music scene starting next year. The band is famously known for dominating the early 2000s with pop punk hits, like “Misery Business” and “That’s What You Get,” and even won a Grammy for Best Rock Song in 2015 for the success of their track “Ain’t It Fun.”

After a four year hiatus, Paramore dropped After Laughter in 2017, which acted as the band’s transition from pop punk to alternative and was praised by fans for addressing topics like mental health and grieving from heartbreak. Here is every track from Paramore’s most recent project After Laughter, ranked.

12. “No Friend”

As much as this song helps emphasize the toll mental health can have on one’s personal happiness, it’s hard to hear the mumbling of lyrics over wailing guitars. It definitely makes a statement as one of the final tracks of the album, yet it lacks substance.

11. “Grudges”

“Grudges” is about forgiving people and starting a new chapter on the right foot. Its upbeat chorus and production creates a hopeful tone as the track progresses and is easily a song anyone could dance to. While it is a playful song, it doesn’t really stand out compared to the tracks before and after it.

10. “Caught In the Middle”

This song is lyrically one of the darkest on After Laughter, but it is also fast-paced and fun to listen to. Williams’ vocals are also stunning and truly give insight to her own battle with mental health as a female artist. “Caught In the Middle” sets a more serious tone towards the end of the album, which is why it fits so perfectly amongst the other tracks.

9. “Forgiveness”

Interestingly, this was the first song Williams wrote for this album after taking a break from the band. She sings of how hard it is to forgive someone for hurting you badly and how she never wants anyone to take advantage of her again. The mellow guitar and echoed vocals give this track the depth it needs, and it will for sure haunt listeners.

8. “Hard Times”

Acting as the lead single, “Hard Times” perfectly describes how difficult it is to keep one’s head up in times of despair and destruction. The introduction to this song automatically sounds different than any song Paramore has made before, with hints of a xylophone and Caribbean-like drums that get your head bobbing up and down. 

What makes this song so good is how honest the lyrics are, yet again, and how the premise of the song is to stay positive (hence, the vibrant use of guitar and drums mixed with Williams perfect vibrato).

7. “Rose-Colored Boy”

This track is an ode to the pop sound of the ‘80s, which is exactly what this album needed. A commentary on the political climate of the time, “Rose-Colored Boy” is about maintaining a false sense of hope, which in turn affects one’s ability to acknowledge the real problems going on in the world around them. 

Williams sucker punches listeners with her chanting background vocals and high notes. This is the perfect song to listen to when you need to snap back to reality.

6. “Idle Worship”

Williams sings to her enemies on this track, clearly stating that she isn’t someone who can easily be used by others. This feminist anthem is full of anger and frustration, wailing vocals and burning lyrics — all acknowledging the unfair pedestal that female vocalists are usually put on in the music industry. 

5. “26”

Williams wrote this song ironically at 26 years old, as she was beginning to question the nature of her marriage. Its overall message is stated quite literally in the lyrics: “Hold on to hope if you got it / Don’t let it go for nobody,” making it a powerful addition to After Laughter. All this track contains is an acoustic guitar and William’s voice, and that is all it needs to get listeners crying in an instant.

4. “Pool”

“Pool” is a song that actually feels like you’re sinking underwater. As morbid as that sounds, it causes one to feel the suffering and pain that Williams sings about, along with the singer questioning her own self worth and ability to make someone feel loved. This track is valuable since it may just be one of Paramore’s most vulnerable sounding songs of all time.

3. “Told You So”

As the third track of the album, “Told You So” goes along with the theme of being misjudged and underappreciated for the work you produce. Williams almost shouts at you in this song, claiming that the talent she possesses has always been legitimate, even when others have tried to say otherwise. 

Like the title suggests, this song is about proving to others that criticism is only valid when it’s actually constructive, not just a purposeful diss to one’s character. 

2. “Fake Happy”

Truthfully, this track is one of the best songs ever released by Paramore. The whole premise of After Laughter is within this song; noting the internal struggles one faces when their mental health is deteriorating and how this affects the way they perceive other people. It’s a warning to those who don’t believe in or prioritize their mental health, and it also suggests that everyone struggles at some point in their life, even if they don’t want to admit it.

1. “Tell Me How”

By far, this is the most heartbreaking song on the album. “Tell Me How” is about struggling to reach out to someone after losing touch with them, especially a person you used to love and maybe regret letting go of. It’s the final track on the album, and it really leaves listeners on a striking note, intentionally causing you to self-reflect on their own relationships, present and past.


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