Hard Times – Paramore

All trappings of rock music have fallen away from Paramore’s sound these days. They sound like Eat to the Beat era Blondie doing Vampire Weekend now. Or if we’re being less generous, they sound like The Ting Tings.

Pure plastic pop music with 80’s synths, big backing vocals and a lite raga groove.

The video visuals for the single, channel the same 80’s squiggle graphics as Kaiser Chiefs last release, a pastiche of the light frothy Stock Aitkin and Waterman era. It’s very on trend to be throwing back to the worst elements of the most awful decade. Let’s not recall them quite so fondly.

This song has got a surreptitious hook though and if you’re around young people who have the thing on heavy rotation it worms it’s way in. You find yourself humming it and thinking ‘what is that song?’. So that is pop music doing its job right? I was counting on having forgotten this thing completely by Christmas. But as time goes on I’m thinking… Nope, this is one of the hits of the year.

It’s becoming more and more common for bands who start out indie rock to go full synth pop by about the fourth or fifth album. So far this hasn’t resulted in any of the total classic pop hits they’re trying to emulate. The pop seems pastiche after a while and the bands inevitably revert to their guitar driven sound. For Paramore this may prove to have been just the right move.

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