Review Summary: A general stench of lilac
When you grow up poor, the smallest things become grand indulgences, just because of how rarely they come to you. Ice cream, cinema tickets, the odd trip to a mid-range restaurant on a birthday. It’s a grim enough way to spend a life, but the scarcity of these moments is also what makes them taste so sweet.
In your early twenties, when you don’t give a *** about ice cream anymore, the closest you get to that good, good feeling is when an upper-middle class girl tells you her parents are out of town, and takes you home, to suburbia.
I still remember those houses, so fragrant and alien. Furniture that’s been aggressively made to look antique, vaguely abstract paintings from upscale department stores, a laptop in every room, fridges that are metallic and not white, a signed photo of Rod Stewart in her parents' bedroom, a general stench of lilac everywhere. And the girl – doe-eyed, entitled to all hell, as white and wrinkle-free as only someone who never has to worry about money can be. It’s a beautiful feeling screwing someone like that on a sturdy bed with more than one spare sheet in the pantry. You feel the way Scottish people must when they *** English people. Like you’re taking back something that was stolen from you so long ago, you can’t even conceive what it was. That feeling doesn’t have a name. Or at least it didn’t, until Paramore came around.
The sound of After Laughter is that feeling, that house, that stinking lilac, that girl. As carefree and vapid as that suburban hell. Never mind the song titles that read like things angry school-girls put on friendship bracelets. Or the fact that the lead singer is single-handedly keeping the hair-dye industry and Wal-Mart jewelry business alive. Or that the album title sounds like a haunting documentary about what Bill Cosby did after his stand-up shows.
Like all those sexual tourism trips to suburbia, once you’re outside having a cigarette, amid picket fences and family-sized cars, wondering which bus-line can take you home, the next-door neighbour watering her ***ing hydrangeas and shooting you suspicious looks because you smell like you don’t belong; you don’t feel good anymore. You feel like someone has flayed off a level of pride from you, taken a small spark off you. It all takes its toll eventually. Thankfully, in Paramore’s case, all they take from you are some earwax and a little time.