Track Review: Paramore, ‘Hard Times’
Paramore returns with an electrifying, new single, “Hard Times,” which serves as the promo single for its fifth studio album, ‘After Laughter.’
Among the many surprises of 2017 is the return of Paramore. Back in the 00s, Paramore was kind of a big deal. After the band saw a lineup change with the exit of the Farro brothers, Hayley Williams and company dropped their self-titled album. That project gave listeners the brilliant, Grammy-winning performance, “Ain’t It Fun.” Now it’s 2017, one Farro bro is back, and the band returns with a new album, After Laughter. Single “Hard Times” leads the charge.
“Hard Times” is a bit surprising, compared to the previous work of Paramore. From the jump, the sound is based in 80s cues. While it’s surprising, it definitely serves its role as an attention-getter. Furthermore, it eliminates predictability, keeping the band fresh and relevant. The 80s have been in throughout the 10s, so “Hard Times” fits.
The lyrics reflect the theme posed by the title. Essentially, this is a song about overcoming hard times and moving beyond them. On the first verse, Williams is pretty cut and dry.
“All that I want / Is to wake up fine / Tell me that I’m alright / That I ain’t gonna die…”
The chorus confirms the hard times that she references on the first verse:
“Hard times / Gonna make you wonder why you even try / Hard times / Gonna take you down and laugh when you cry / These lives / And I still don’t know how I even survive / Hard times, hard times / And I gotta get to rock bottom.”
Another stellar moment comes during the repetitive, yet highly effective bridge:
“Tell my friends I’m coming down / We’ll kick it when I hit the ground.”
The wordplay on the bridge is interesting. When someone is “coming down,” it often means they are returning to normal. Apparently, Hayley Williams is doing just that, and when she’s completed it, she and those she holds close will be back in harmony with one another.
So, how does “Hard Times” play ultimately? Ultimately, there shouldn’t be hard times in the band’s future, at least in regards to the song itself. Song of the year? Not quite, but a great message, overall sound, and an enjoyable record without question.