The video for Paramore’s new single “Still Into You” opens with a shot of the band’s three members in a canoe, adrift in a sea of balloons. As manifestations of joy go, it’s among the more abstract and overwhelming; the supply of euphoria is such you can get lost in it, silvery clouds in every direction. Later, singer Hayley Williams springs from the depths of a queen-size bed as if unbottled. She is outfitted in varieties of neon, her leggings veined with what appears to be yellow slime. She sings to a panoply of birthday cakes. It’s the happiest the band have appeared in a video since 2008, when the hometown-barbecue video for “That’s What You Get”—the final single from 2007’s Riot!—came out. In interviews around that time Williams said the “That’s What You Get” shoot saved the touring-weary band, repairing them as friends.
Two of the videos from the following album, Brand New Eyes, positioned Williams against her bandmates—she interrogated them with a swinging bulb (“Ignorance”), then locked them in her basement (“Playing God”). The latter video premiered in November 2010; one month later, neutral-faced guitarist Josh Farro and doughy brother Zac (an excellent drummer whose ghost notes broke and fluttered across the length of his tracks) left the band.
Their leaving was a moral victory for both sides. The Farros could shuffle away, convinced they were considered nothing but “hired guns” and that people thought of Williams as “the real artist.” The remaining members could solidify their identity as a band by releasing music unfazed. Three years later, they have a new album called Paramore (Atlantic). Session drummer Ilan Rubin, whose style is less busy than Zac Farro’s, handles percussion duties; he’s drummed for Angels And Airwaves and Nine Inch Nails, and his performances are dense and exact. On “Still Into You” he works his way into the fabric of the guitar and bass almost transparently, precise as an athlete. Like the balloons and fireworks in the video, the elements of the song enact synesthesias: Guitars fire like synapses, butterflies wind a path through the stomach. The riff is elastic and moving, as if trying to escape its own shape; Williams chases it, but she also cleverly deviates from it, laddering the structure.
“Still Into You” is a more inviting and charming single than the album’s awkward and terrestrial first offering. [...]