Paramore returns with new album, ‘After Laughter’

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MARK BONIFACIO

Plus: Northdrive—the new OPM band to watch out for
After four years of waiting, fans of Grammy Award-winning band Paramore can rejoice with the release of their fifth studio album, “After Laughter.”It features a new single “Hard Times,” which is joined by a dynamic new companion video directed by Andrew Joffe.

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After Laughter was recorded at Nashville’s historic RCA Studio B—Paramore’s first time recording in their own beloved hometown. The album is produced by Justin Meldal-Johnsen and Paramore’s own Taylor York. After Laughter also marks the return of original member Zac Farro back to the band.

Paramore—four-time Grammy nominees and winner of the Best Rock Song trophy at the 57th annual Grammy—have long established themselves as international rock superstars.

But this new release is very different from their previous albums—not one you will expect from a Paramore album. The 1980s influence is heavily evident in the songs (particularly on “Rose-Colored Boy”) and delving into pop-rock territory. It opens with the cheery synth-heavy carrier single “Hard Times” but it is really about being in a bad mood—which is also the same with the other singles as its vibrancy contrasts with the lyrics of the songs. Despite this, Hayley Williams maintains her strong vocals especially in “Told You So,” and the vocalist that everyone loves still has the spunk. One track though veers away from its majority pop driven beat: “No Friend,” with poetry combined with rock groove. Overall, there are a lot of potential singles which can make way not only on rock but pop radio or digital playlist.

Paramore

Their previous self-titled album “Paramore”    made a chart-topping debut atop the SoundScan/Billboard 200 upon its April 2013 release marking Paramore’s first No. 1 album to date. It also scored an array of No. 1 debuts around the globe. Paramore further showcased a string of blockbuster singles including a pair of two-time platinum-certified hits, the Top 10 “Still Into You” and the No. 1 smash, “Ain’t It Fun.” The latter track proved Paramore’s biggest single to date, ascending to No. 1 at Hot AC and Rock radio outlets in America, No. 2 at Top 40, as well as to the Top 10 on Billboard’s Hot 100—the band’s first ever Top 10 hit on the overall chart and their highest peaking song thus far.

Paramore has had a truly remarkable run of certified albums and singles since coming together in Nashville in 2004, from 2005’s gold-certified debut, “All We Know is Falling,” and 2007’s two-time platinum-certified breakthrough, “Riot!” . This in turn churned out the three-time platinum-certified hit “Misery Business,” as well as the platinum-certified singles “crushcrushcrush” and “That’s What You Get”), to 2008’s worldwide platinum “Decode” (from the chart-topping “Twilight–Original Motion Picture Soundtrack”), and 2009’s platinum-certified “brand new eyes” and its Grammy-nominated smash, “The Only Exception.”

Long regarded as an exhilarating live act, Paramore has spent much of the past decade-plus on the road, with highlights including sold out headline arena tours and show-stealing festival sets around the globe. The band has consistently drawn both critical acclaim as well as a wide-ranging list of international honors and accolades, now including a Grammy Award, two People’s Choice Awards, three NME Awards, three MTV Video Music Award nominations, and so much more.

Hopefully, they will be back again in Manila to tour with this album.

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Northdrive is the new OPM band to watch out for.

All hailing from the province of Tarlac, just about two hours “north” of Manila, Northdrive was formed in the summer of 2015 by guitarist/songwriter Ponky Lao.

Ponky moved from New York, where he worked as a chef, to the Philippines to pursue a career in music. With advice and guidance of his childhood friend, the prominent musician and producer Ryan Sarmiento of 6cyclemind, he decided to put together a band. After a few calls from friends, the roles in the band were filled. The five-piece group immediately got to writing and jamming. Soon after, they were opening for national bands that would pass through Tarlac City.

Northdrive

Buzz about their stellar live performance spread and in less than two years, Northdrive has already played several major festivals. They have especially gained admiration in their hometown including Tarlac City Mayor Cristy Angeles for representing the city.

They have just released their latest single “Pangako” a touching ballad professing love and devotion. The track debuted at No. 8 in iTunes Top 200 Tracks Philippines Alternative Chart.

Northdrive is comprised of Ponky Lao on guitars, Allan Puno on bass, Leo Manalo on guitars, and Jun Salonga on drums. The band has finished recording their debut album, “Coming Home”, which is set for release in 2018.

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