But, as Paramore told MTV News during the premiere of their “Now” video, there’s more to it: This album is also a snapshot of a band in transition, at a moment in their career where they’re leaving the past behind and heading off into the great unknown. And, really, there’s no title that could capture those sentiments quite like a self-title.
“[The album] said so much to us as we were making it; it was this whole rediscovery of who we are as people, as artists, as a collective unit. It really taught us a lot about ourselves as a band, and that was so fun,” frontwoman Hayley Williams said. “It felt like the same feeling I got when we were kids, playing in Taylor’s basement or Jeremy’s living room. Every morning I would wake up and we’d go into the studio, and it was like ‘I don’t know anything; I’m just going in and we’re going to make music.’ It was nice to not know everything, and not feel like we’re in a pattern, we’re in a routine, we know what’s coming next. Every day was something new and exciting.”
And that feeling of exploration is readily apparent in the album’s size (with 17 songs, it’s by far the longest of their career) and scope; it features a trio of musical interludes, which Paramore fought to have included on the final tracklisting and played a key part in the album coming together in the first place.
“We had writer’s block pretty badly one time, and these interludes just happened,” guitarist Taylor York said. “They’re really different … [they’ve got] ukulele, [they’re] really just weird for us, but it felt like we had to write those to continue writing the record. So I feel like they tell some sort of story; they’re more like mini songs than interludes.”
Of course, though they’ve expanded their sonic palette, Paramore are still writing anthems of empowerment: “Now” bristles with it , as does one of their favorite new tracks, “Anklebiters,” which Williams said comes from a period of deep introspection, and helps frame the through-line for the entire album.
“The title came first, which never happens, but I just thought, I liked the term ‘Anklebiters,’ when you’re talking about kids or babies — we also have a song on the record called ‘Grow Up’ — so there seemed to be this thread in my brain about people who just really need to grow up and maybe open up their mind a little bit,” she said. “And for me, as a girl, I’ve always sort of done things the way that I wanted to do them, and sometimes you get backlash for that. And I think it’s really important just to love who you are. I mean, I learn it every day; anyone who says they don’t have self-esteem issues is a bold-faced liar. It’s really about self-empowerment and learning to leave those negative opinions behind and sort of look at those people right now and say ‘Grow Up.'”
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