I have always been and always will be a diehard Paramore fan. I saw them at Warped Tour eight years ago, fell in love, and followed their explosion into the mainstream with albums like RIOT! and Brand New Eyes. I watched them go from performing in small clubs to stadiums, sharing the stage with huge acts such as New Found Glory and No Doubt. I bought every additional track they made for movie soundtracks including Twilight and Transformers: Dark of the Moon, so when two of the group’s founding members, Josh and Zac Farro, announced their departure (with some not-so-kind words) in December 2010, causing Paramore to take a much-needed break from releasing new music, my heart broke, and I braced for the dreaded breakup announcement.

But rejoice! More than three years since their last album, Paramore dropped “Now,” the first single off their fourth LP with Fueled by Ramen Records, Paramore, due out April 9th. I’ve been following their Facebook and Instagram pages, hanging off every hint they’ve left about the new album’s sound, achieved through the longest recording process they’ve undergone. Lead vocalist Hayley Williams promised Paramore would be more “dancey” and “poppy.” If “Now” is any indication of what’s in store, my curiosity is piqued for the new album, and I can’t wait to see how the band has matured and grown, both personally and musically, over the past few years.

Basic CMYK

This is the heaviest sound we’ve heard from Paramore, and Williams’ opening vocal distortion makes you sit up and listen. Gone are the crisp, quick opening guitar riffs (“Misery Business” and “Ignorance”), and instead we find wailing electronic guitars, soaring build ups, and moody, indie tones throughout. Williams said this album was more influenced by electronic music and it shows. The influence of other bands fronted by females who sing with an emotional urgency — No Doubt, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Metric, etc. — are also apparent in “Now.”

Paramore always excelled at crescendoing into overpoweringly brilliant choruses, and “Now” is no exception. Angels and Airwaves drummer Ilan Rubin lent his talents to this record, and he seems to be a perfect fit. The song ebbs and flows with a rock tinge that seems more natural (another aspect of the album Williams continues to note) than other tracks. The chorus “If there’s a future we want it now,” can speak to so many aspects of the band’s past few years, most notably Paramore’s desire to move past the bad blood and drama and go on to create and share rock-solid music. “Now” finds the band refreshed and empowered. The only question left is, “Can I make it to April?”

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