On April 5, Paramore celebrated the 10-year anniversary of its fourth studio album, “Paramore,” which saw the alternative band go outside of its comfort zone stylistically for the first time. With a compilation of songs about love, heartbreak, self-identity and disillusionment, the album served as Paramore’s collective struggles with mental health and identity.
Being out for over a decade now, here is a ranking of all the songs off Paramore’s self-titled album:
“Future” is the last track on “Paramore,” and while its lyrics are striking, there’s not much that hooks in the listener. A song about looking ahead toward the future, suppressing the darker sides of reality, frontwoman Hayley Williams sounds hopeful but also weary, making the tone doubtful and scared of moving on to what’s next for the band.
This song is ranked lower because it just isn’t a standout amongst some of this album’s greatest tracks, but the lyrical content again makes up for the lack of production. With lines such as “So what if I don't have a lot to talk about? / I shove my mouth and keep it locked until it comes / And what if I don't ever want to leave my house? / Stay on the couch while all my friends are going out,” Paramore hints at the idea that someone would rather not deal with their insecurities and mental states, which makes “Be Alone” haunting even if it is upbeat.
“Someday you're gonna be / The only one you've got” is the chorus of “Anklebiters” by Paramore, a track where Williams begs her audience to not conform in order to make others happy. An energized and youthful take on conservative society, the band addressed what would later become huge problems in the United States such as misinformation, causing this track to be somewhat memorable.
On “Proof,” Williams wails about wanting to be reunited with her partner, who is keeping their distance from her after an argument. Eerily a jab at her then-boyfriend Chad Gilbert of New Found Glory, the song is good but not great because of the band’s fixation on heartbreak and anger, which gets old towards the middle of the album.
To me, the interludes are a great way to separate “Paramore” into sections, and “Interlude: Holiday” is Williams' way of laughing at her haters, singing, “Now I can move on to facing / Big girl problems / No more high school drama / Graduated with honors.”
Even if it’s not the best out of the three interludes total on the album, it’s nice to see the band be carefree for a moment on a relatively darker record.
“Interlude: I’m Not Angry Anymore”
“Interlude: I’m Not Angry Anymore” is one of the less mature songs on this record, and given that this is from 10 years ago, it makes sense seeing what the band has grown into now as adults and musicians. Yet, its satirical tone is what makes it stand out, especially with lines like “I'm not angry anymore / Well, sometimes I am / I don't think badly of you / Well, sometimes I do.”
“Interlude: Moving On”
Out of all the interludes, “Interlude: Moving On” is by far the best from Paramore’s fourth album. Serving as the third track on “Paramore,” this song perfectly helps set up the rest of the album, with the band reflecting on past relationships and friendships, deciding to move on from them without any bad blood or regret. Williams’ vocals are also witty and sharp on this track, putting power and emphasis behind her words in a subtle way.
While “Now” is the revolutionary anthem every Paramore fan had been craving from the band during 2013, it tends to get lost amongst the other tracks surrounding it. However, this song saw Williams put her vocal strength to the test, hitting notes that went above her range and proving her expertise as one of alt-rock’s leading female singers. The lyrics were also full of foreshadowing, with Paramore saying, “If there’s a future, we want it now,” alluding to the political climate of the time.
“Fast in My Car”
“Fast in My Car” opens the album and is the fun and carefree song we also needed from Paramore at the time. Rejoicing about friendship and being in your 20s, this track sees Williams almost squeal with excitement as she looks back on her life with her bandmates, remembering their setbacks and accomplishments. Singing, “No one's the same as they used to be / Much as we try to pretend / No one's as innocent as could be / We all fall short, we all sin,” it represented the group’s state of retrospection and celebration of youth.
This moment on the album is one where Williams really lets her anger and frustration come to the forefront, admitting to her thoughts of feeling worn out and abused by those around her. She revealed, “I question every human who won't look in my eyes / Scars left on my heart formed patterns in my mind.” The production of “Part II” is arguably one of the band’s most experimental pieces, which is why it’s ranked so high. As the song fades, you hear the band leave listeners with a vengeful tone, wondering what’s to come next on the tracklist.
“(One of Those) Crazy Girls”
“(One of Those) Crazy Girls” is Paramore simply tapping into a false reality, with Williams acting as a crazed ex-lover, breaking into her ex’s apartment in order to know he’s still alive. Starting off as a slow waltz and then into a pop-rock production, it feels like you’re watching a terrible romantic comedy with no happy ending. Yet, you can hear the singer’s pain and sorrow deep down, knowing that this love affair really threw her into the deep end of insanity.
“Hate to See Your Heart Break”
In an homage to her bandmate Taylor York, Williams uses “Hate to See Your Heart Break” as a song dedicated to friendship, reminding the people closest to her in her life that they never have to go through a difficult time alone. With poignant and poetic lyrics such as “There is not a single word in the whole world / That could describe the hurt / The dullest knife just sawing back and forth / And ripping through the softest skin there ever was / How were you to know?,” this song is the ultimate tribute that always brings listeners to tears even 10 years later.
If you’re a certified daydreamer, then this song perfectly encapsulates what it means to get lost in your inner thoughts and dreams. In “Daydreaming,” Paramore wishes to move away from the hardships of reality, wanting to go back to the easiness of their childhood days. A song that plays with the idea of escaping from your problems, it sonically acts as that, making it feel like you’re in a different place that has a brighter future ahead. Williams also gets emotional on this track, which is why you can’t listen to this album without feeling her own loneliness, causing this song to be extremely relatable for all.
“Still Into You”
Sadly, “Still Into You” at the time was also dedicated to Williams’ relationship with Gilbert, but now, it stands as one of pop-rock’s most iconic love songs from the 2010s. “I should be over all the butterflies / But I'm into you (I'm into you) / And baby even on our worst nights / I'm into you (I'm into you)” is a chorus almost anyone from this decade can recall. It’s simply one of Paramore’s best ballads, especially when Williams hits that famous high note in its bridge.
“Grow Up” is the ultimate diss track within Paramore’s discography, proving that you don’t want to mess with Williams. This track basically calls out all the immature and privileged people one faces throughout their life, and the band uses its pent-up thoughts and anger to warn that eventually they will be left behind once the real world caves in on them. Again, Williams’ vocals are at their strongest here, as well as the band’s instrumentals, and there’s no better feeling than hearing Paramore learn and grow from their previous albums.
“Ain’t It Fun”
There’s a reason “Ain’t It Fun” won Best Rock Song at the 2015 Grammy Awards and it’s because it is a certified banger beloved by all, even if you don’t love Paramore. Williams' swagger and confidence come to the forefront in this track, which solidified her as a vocal powerhouse and excellent performer during this time and up to now. It’s also a song all about the sign of the times, the band using it as a shoutout to the ones who have lived their lives without cheating the system.
“Last Hope” gets the top spot because it is one of Paramore’s best songs across all of the band’s albums, not losing its significance after 10 years. This song tells listeners to hold onto hope essentially, even if they’re not thriving mentally, and that hope is sometimes all one needs to stay alive and continue to work through the darkness of life.
Lyrically, this song is practically a poem, bringing one to tears with its motivational tone and the journey it takes you on through Williams’ own battles with mental health. All in all, this track is the epitome of who Paramore is as a band, a band that has always and continues to uplift and support its fanbase through music.