PARAMORE - AIN’T IT FUN
[7.65] You draw your own conclusions from the number of reviews.
Zach Lyon: One of three perfect songs off Paramore, I still have to dock the single edit a point. Though it isn’t as bad as I was bracing for, it cuts out the soloist, which is sort of unforgivable; I’m always at least a little wary of the trope of white rock bands using gospel choirs, but they actually remembered the soloist! (And their history as a sorta-Christian band makes it a bit easier to rationalize.) All at once Hayley and the choir taunt, tease, scold and support — I don’t buy for a second that the chant doesn’t involve all four specifics. Her big sister act doesn’t smother out the “milliennial”/twee Thought Cataloguisms floating through the atmosphere, but I just spent an hour getting lost in D.C. looking for the moon so it’s not like I can talk.
Will Adams: Oscillating between sharp-tongued and sympathetic, “Ain’t It Fun” couches its sobering message in xylophones and synth stabs. Williams navigates the confused emotions brilliantly, sounding simultaneously terrified, resigned, hopeful, and determined at the prospect of living in the real world. This is the graduation song no one wants to sing but always lurks underneath.
David Sheffieck: Half a dozen bits of this sound like half a dozen other songs I remember loving, but Hayley Williams’s distinctive vocal, whether yelping or chanting or cooing, effectively erases them from memory. Massively, life-affirmingly hook-filled.
Crystal Leww: I really liked Paramore too, but “Ain’t It Fun” is really corny, maybe even a little trite, complete with a breakdown with stomping that taunts you about crying to your momma. It just sounds so cartoonishly nihilistic, like a version of Paramore that Fueled by Ramen was trying to peddle out to preteens in 2006 to sell records. This is a marked regression after a fantastic progression.
Patrick St. Michel: Paramore aren’t content to simply roll their eyes, to build one of the catchiest choruses from the sentiment “dude, wake up,” and to make this side-eye of a song sound — yep — fun. They go and include a choir interlude to really drive the close-minded-ness of whatever delusional person this song is aimed at…and it sounds really good too, more than just another gadget in a Mouse-Trap-worthy kiss off. And that’s the secret of “Ain’t It Fun” — it might be goofing on some jerk, but Paramore make sure that hook can still resonate with folks who already knew.
Anthony Easton: The rolling precussion, and the handclaps, make this sound like one of those songs released for American graduations, but it might also be sarcastic. I have always been fond of irony that can be used for earnestness or earnestness that can be used for sincerity.
Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: “Ain’t It Fun” is the exact moment on last year’s self-titled that Paramore leave behind their existence as a great pop-punk band and become the best pop group in the world. The entire song from top to bottom is an intricate hook machine, brimming with bells’n’whistles that strengthen the melodies rather than flood it with clashing ideas. And that’s before the choir come in, the first time in years a choir appearance doesn’t sound alarm bells. The song is about growing up and accepting actions have consequences - it’s about Living In The Real World. For five minutes, Paramore transcend The Real World.
Alfred Soto: The best kiss-off since DJ Quik’s “Ghetto Rendezvous” keeps mutating into ever catchier parts, the culmination of which is the chorus of taunts — one of the best uses of choir since “Like a Prayer.” At the center is Hayley Williams, testifying and radiant and her own woman, hurling the title’s rhetorical question as if she’s aware that yes, it is fun living in her boyfriend’s idea of a real world. The quality of mercy is measured by guitar licks.
Mallory O’Donnell: More than decent Sheila E rip with better verse than chorus bits and a slightly overlong breakdown. It ain’t not fun, but why the hell is everyone trying to marry it?
Juana Giaimo: We all know that Paramore is mostly about Hayley Williams, but the single version of “Ain’t It Fun” highlights her vocals a little too much. The synths of the prechorus are much missed as well as the detailed guitar-work during the last part with the gospel choir, which are both mixed really low in the new version. The shortening of the first prechorus also makes the song seem too rushed. But the most annoying change is that unnecessary echo on Hayley’s voice! But despite the minor changes, “Ain’t It Fun” is still “Ain’t It Fun” and it’s indeed a lot of fun.
Katherine St Asaph: A winning pastiche of The Dilettantes, ’80s synthfunk and arena gospel clapper. It’s less a sleeper hit than hit grandfathered in (basically, we paid for this with “The Only Exception”), but it’s still a charming surprise to see it chart.
Megan Harrington: “Ain’t It Fun” has a broad sound that could (and did) appeal to wide swathes of fans: the gospel breakdown, the bubblegum keys, the power chords, it’s a song any member of the family is allowed to put on during a long car ride.
Josh Langhoff: The most Teena Marie-ed performance I’ve heard from Hayley Williams — “wellyoucanringanybo-dy’s bell,” right on — escalates into a singalong chant that could dupe any thumbsucking solipsist into staging his own intervention. As good as Williams and the song are, they move from section to section with an evident forethought that precludes any sense of spontaneous rush. Seeing the blueprints tends to suck out the fun. But yeah, still pretty fun.
Brad Shoup: The track yearns to swing, and the players almost oblige. The pep of the track nearly overwhelms the curdled sentiment, like the guitar buzz drowning out Williams in the chorus. It’s that cod-gospel bit that did it for me: it’s less of a taunt than a really kind intervention.
Jonathan Bradley: Although “Ain’t It Fun” isn’t a title entirely bereft of irony, it does genuinely locate the joy in emerging from the turbulence, even if it can’t be done unscathed. The chorus’s not-quite-sure yet not-quite-sarcastic “Ain’t it good living on your own?” acknowledges the bravery as well as the necessity of self-reliance, and “What are you gonna do when the world don’t revolve around you” is comforting because telling yourself to find some maturity is nearly as satisfying as telling other people. The coda, “Don’t go crying to your mama,” demonstrates that more pep talks should include gospel choirs.
Andy Hutchins: I had no idea Hayley Williams was probably singing about her ex-bandmates the Farros until I heard (while driving on Parramore Avenue in Orlando, seriously) a DJ coyly hint at that possibility. With or without knowledge of a specific target, this is brilliant pop-punk, with Williams vamping wonderfully — somehow, the carrot-colored hair comes through in the soaring hook, and cute is only part of what is being aimed for. A gospel choir backing Williams over a rolling bridge of that unfuckwithable “Don’t go cryyyyin’/To your maaaama/’Cause you’re on your own/In the reallll world” is arguably only the fourth-best thing about this song, a “Since U Been Gone” for anyone who has ever worked with the wrong person. It is a triumph.
Scott Mildenhall: Yep!
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