Paramore's fifth studio album is titled After Laughter and drops on May 12. Their lead single for "Hard Times" is a summery upbeat anthem, but don't let the soaring pop-rock melodies and massive chorus fool you – the track is quite pessimistic. As for the rest of the album, the New York Times says it deals with themes of betrayal, disappointment and regret.
In their interview with the band, front woman Hayley Williams says they want it that way. “I couldn’t imagine putting something on an album that says ‘life’s great, everything’s cool, party with me,’” she said.
And despite popular belief that labels have influenced their direction, Paramore insists the rage against the pop machine is their own doing. That includes resisting collaborations with known hitmakers. “We’ve somehow earned our freedom,” said the band's guitarist, Taylor York, who also produced the record with Justin Meldal-Johnsen. “I can’t imagine getting up there and playing a Max Martin song,” he said. “At that point we might as well just stop.”
"Hard Times" is a massive, radio-friendly hit. If you would have told me Martin had a say in it, I would have believed you. That's a huge compliment for York considering the hit-maker is one of the most talented producers in the game, but that also means their new song isn't wildly different from something Martin would create.