It’s funny, when we started the record, all of the songs that we thought were going to be singles, never were. “When It Rains,” I thought for sure was going to be a smash at radio. In fact, John Mayer heard it and said, ‘If that’s not a hit song, I quit the business.’ “Hallelujah,” we thought that was going to be the first single at some point when we were making the record. Even with “That’s What You Get,” which I think was the third single, the song was in 6/8. It’s very difficult to make something in 6/8 sound like a normal sound for Top 40. So, I felt like the risks that had been taken paid off.
With Styles’ start of 193,000 he earns the biggest debut sales week for a U.K. male artist’s first full-length album since Nielsen Music began tracking sales in 1991.
Paramore came in at number six, selling around 67,000 album equivalent units. I’ve seen a few people saying this is a disappointment, and I wanna push back on that just a bit. The band selected a fast album roll-out with very minimal press. They did only a few interviews, with massive publications, and turned down requests from everyone else. They didn’t send out advances to virtually anyone, and I think they knew going in this wasn’t going to be an album they pushed for the first week sales. I think it’s instead setting up their upcoming tour, they’ll have a bigger push on the second single, and the positive word of mouth will keep this album moving throughout the summer.
Basically, I don’t think it’s a disappointment, and I wouldn’t worry.
It’s hard to overstate just how tumultuous the past decade of Paramore’s career has been. Since before the recording of Brand New Eyes the band has been regularly rocked by near career-ending shifts. While some bands are lucky enough to go through no lineup changes throughout their career, or when lineup changes do happen the splits are often amicable, Paramore has had no such luck. I don’t need to rehash any of the details of this unrest except to say this: While the turmoil would crush almost any other band, the members that have remained, or returned, to Paramore have fought through all adversity to arrive at After Laughter, the crowning achievement of their career so far.
At once a deeply wistful look back at the past decade-plus of the band’s history and a clear eyed assessment of the future, After Laughter is a record about the moments between total heartbreak and absolute elation. These in-between moments allow us to pick up the pieces broken during the former and come down from the euphoric high of the latter, and reassess what our purpose is here on this floating rock. These moments make up the vast totality of our time on Earth, but for some reason they don’t often feel as romantic.
There were many talks over coffee with [bandmate Taylor York]. We thought, “Maybe we should start something new.” But Taylor said to me, “If we start another band and people call it Paramore, you’re gonna be so mad. So you might as well just be Paramore.” I actually think I could have been happy if we kept creating together and never put out a record, but the fact that we created an album and people can hear it — I’m still pinching myself.
“Everything has been resolved and settled,” said Jay Bowen, Nashville-based attorney for Paramore. “Paramore had a great show last night, getting ready for their tour. The album’s out (May 12).”
Bowen said he couldn’t comment further and Nashville attorney Derek Crownover, who represented Davis, declined to comment.
“What I will say is that it’s such bullshit that we’re in a lawsuit,” sighs Williams. “I wasn’t OK for a while; maybe I’m still not.”
Taylor York says that he didn’t even feel Davis’s leaving because he was so used to the pain of Paramore. “I was just numb,” he says. “It was just another drama and another example of being in a band and it being really difficult, and feeling bad about that. We have the coolest job ever but why does it have to be so hard?”
After Laughter is about the look on people’s faces when they’re done laughing. If you watch somebody long enough, there’s always this look that comes across their face when they’re done smiling, and I always find it really fascinating to wonder what it is that brought them back to reality. So, that’s what After Laughter is.