Welcome to Dissected, where we disassemble a band’s catalog, a director’s filmography, or some other critical pop-culture collection in the abstract. It’s exact science by way of a few beers. This time, we sort through the best and worst of the lauded Nashville trio.
When a group of teenage boys started a band in Franklin, Tennessee in 2003, they stumbled upon a secret weapon, who had just happened to sign a solo deal with Atlantic Records: Hayley Williams. Though they all could have easily served as Williams’ backing band, they opted for the more unified approach of just being a rock band.
But Paramore were never just a rock band. Even in their early days of Warped Tour treks and shopping mall-core aesthetics, they were phenomenal musicians, led by a tour-de-force vocalist whose soaring soprano would become instantly recognizable in just a few years. When their lineup crystallized in 2007 with Williams, the Farro brothers on guitar and drums, bassist Jeremy Davis, and rhythm guitarist Taylor York, they released Riot!, a breakout album that saw the band trading pop punk scene notoriety for a much larger audience.
There was a significant shift after the band’s excellent third album, Brand New Eyes — citing some pretty major frustrations, Josh and Zac Farro abruptly left the band, and Paramore carried on as a trio with their 2013 self-titled album. They returned in 2017 with the new wave-influenced After Laughter, only this time, Zac Farro had rejoined the band, and Davis had departed.
And now, in 2023, we have yet another standout entry in Paramore’s extensive catalog: This Is Why. The album may not reach the heights of some of their earlier works, but it is appropriate cause for a revisit of the band’s discography.
From the youthful glow of All We Know Is Falling to the existential post-punk of This Is Why, we’ve dissected all of Paramore’s six albums and ranked them accordingly. After all, few bands have managed to pull off the kind of stylistic evolution that Paramore have, so… let the flames begin.
— Paolo Ragusa
Ed. note: Catch Paramore on tour in 2023; tickets are available here.