In a career that has spanned nearly two decades, Paramore have risen ranks that have seen their public portrayal go from that of plucky woman-fronted pop-punk marvel to shrewd genre experimentalists, owning every bump in their road as testament to the realities of growing up and out together. 

From the earnest-angst of All We Know Is Falling to the brand spanking new This Is Why, the band’s enduring members of Hayley Williams, Zac Farro, and Taylor York have moved from their teens to their early 30s in front of our eyes, crafting a catalogue of work that has shapeshifted with their own tastes, experiences, and musical motivations. From great to most great, there are no losers in our ranking of their work; only the people who ever bet against them as one of the most enduring, innovative bands of the emo-pop scene. 

Read more: Paramore’s This Is Why is a fierce portrait of millennial angst

6. All We Know Is Falling (2005) 

From Franklin, Tennessee to the world, All We Know Is Falling introduced the world to the wide-eyed, heartfelt teenagers with a hardy work ethic, slogging around Warped Tour in an attempt to find their fans. The record that results is one that plainly wears its desire to be understood. From the screaming diary entry of "My Heart" to the angst of "Emergency" (“Are you listening/Are you watching me”), there were some great, melodic emo tendencies that would follow them for the rest of their career, balancing big riffs with a more somber sense of small-town sentimentality. Its position at the bottom of our list is no diss; just a sign of the deeper versatility to which they would ascend from these sturdy foundations. 

5. Riot! (2007)

Considered to be the band’s commercial, international breakthrough, Riot! launched a thousand imitators of the quintessential Paramore scene look: choppy orange hair, highlighter-colored jeans, and more Myspace Angst than you could shake a HTML 

For Dummies guidebook at. Entirely befitting of the era, Riot! gave us not only "Misery Business," but a slew of other top-tier mall-punk bangers that showcased their strengthening structural abilities, including "That’s What You Get," "When It Rains," and "Born for This." The vaudevillian theatrics of "Fences" were perhaps better suited to Fever-era Panic! At The Disco, but if you can still hit every note in Hayley’s performance of "Hallelujah," you can have the Skelanimals T-shirt hiding in the back of our closet as a prize. 

4. Paramore (2013) 

Splitting the difference between ballads, ukulele ditties, and out-and-out radio-friendly hits, self-titled moved the band into epic arena-level sonics and going hard on a touring cycle that saw them headline their first Reading & Leeds festival in the U.K. It also solidified their penchant for an intertextual reference; "Part II," written as a continuation of Riot!’s "Let the Flames Begin," demonstrated their ability for reflection, while "Ain’t It Fun," with its giddy combination of rock, gospel, soul, and joyously-dour emo lyrics, was so uniquely Paramore that it couldn't not be a crossover hit. It even ended up bagging them their first Grammy win for Best Rock Song, proving once and for all that they were one of the best rock bands of our time.

3. After Laughter (2017)

With drummer Zac Farro rejoining the fold after leaving the band for a period of time between 2010 and early 2017, Paramore’s core band was back together for After Laughter — and it felt so good. Proving that they could transcend pop-punk, the band seamlessly transitioned into '80s-tinged new-wave-pop, bearing some all-time band classics in the form of "Hard Times," "Told You So," and even "Tell Me How," which teased some of the sonic textures that would present themselves in Hayley’s solo work. It's a record with great character, and each member is firing on top cylinders; Hayley’s playful vocal delivery, Taylor’s meticulous marimba guitar, and Zac Farro as their stoic drummer, bringing in some of his own funky experimentation from his solo project, HalfNoise. Their confidence as a trio emboldened Williams to plumb lyrical depths that broke some serious fourth walls, whether it was the pedestal teardown of "Idle Worship" or, on "26," the plainly-stated messages of hope from within a very dark place. After Laughter knew that life can be tough — but as long as you cry hard and dance harder — it’ll all come out okay in the end. 

2. This Is Why (2023)

It may be a little soon to guess at the legacy of Paramore’s sixth album, but it’s already earned a rank in the upper echelons of their catalogue. With its frenetic indie-disco riff, the title track is a whip-sharp rabble-rouser that explores pandemic-era anxiety, while "The News" captures a sense of activist frustration in the era of virtue signalling, struggling with feeling "useless behind this computer." The same Radiohead flourishes that crept in on Hayley’s Petals For Armor are still there, but so is a love of noughties British indie, giving the record a sharp-yet-nostalgic edge. 

Alongside Farro and York's creative instrumentation, Williams' emotional processing is the album's real star. Using her voice as a textural instrument, rather than the front-and-center presence that we’re used to, it may not be to everyone’s taste, but her lyrics sparkle with honesty. "Big Man, Little Dignity" is a subtle Americana takedown of toxic masculinity, "Liar" opens its arms to healthier romantic relationships, and "Thick Skull" takes a cold look at the music industry’s burn book, exploring every misconception and sexist judgement that has ever been aimed at her as the first step in finally shaking them off. Bridging the gap between external and internal observation, This Is Why's modus operandi is to confront the very human tendency to cling to the familiar, even when it hurts us, resisting what is better for us both personally and politically. Paramore as sign-of-the-times narrators? It’s a tricky perspective to pull off, but this far into their career and with a solid history as thoughtful allies for an array of causes, they have more than earned the right. 

1. Brand New Eyes (2009)

Any Paramore fan will know that 2009 was not the easiest period for the band. In fact, there were times when it looked as if the Paramore dream might have been over. Nonetheless, the sense of anger, betrayal, and inner-band tension that was spawned within that era was channelled into truly great art with a muscular abrasiveness to it that many bands in the scene had already begun to avoid. 

Make no mistake about it: From the frustrated impatience of "Feeling Sorry" to the despair of "Misguided Ghosts" to even the put-things-back-in-perspective "Looking Up," this was a heavy record, topped off by "Ignorance" as a testament to the pressures and perspectives of growing up (and away) from one another in public. The enduring TikTok success of "All I Wanted" proves exactly what the band is capable of in terms of plainly-stated emotion, but every song is a no-skip banger, especially if you’re lucky enough to have the special edition version, which tacked on Twilight soundtrack anthem "Decode." We’re incredibly glad that the band are now on healthier ground, but, boy, does this record stand as testament to their tenacity — the moment when they showed they had every desire to stick around.