Nashville-based band Paramore returns with their sixth album
On Feb 10, pop-punk band Paramore dropped This is Why, their first new album since 2018. This is Why highlights the paranoia and fears of post-quarantine and adult life through its bold lyrics and powerful vocals. The album is distinct in its compelling expression of adult angst.
Lead singer Hayley Williams, guitarist Taylor York, and drummer Zac Farros started out in 2004 as an emo band with a young audience. As they grew, their music matured as well, culminating in their current sound and identity.
"This is Why" is the title track of their new album and the first single the band released. Williams wrote the song to describe the lows of post-quarantine life. She repeats, "This is why / I don’t leave the house / You say the coast is clear / But you won’t catch me out." In a literal context, it describes the fears of leaving the house during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, in a figurative sense, it also shows how dwelling in the anxiety of the situation is almost as scary as the real viral threat. The softer voice of Williams, in contrast to her usual belt, highlights a contained anxiety that builds the tension by leaving the audience in suspense.
The next track, "The News," is a complete 180 from the title track, one of the loudest tracks on This is Why. Williams is almost screaming as she belts out the lyrics, "Turn off, turn on the news." The dramatic guitar build-up and muffled singing in the bridge heighten Williams' frustration and criticism of the 24-hour news cycle.
"Running Out of Time" perfectly encompasses the fear of growing older. "Running Out of Time" is a heavily relatable song; the lyrics hit close to home about procrastination. People often have intentions to do something but never actually get the chance to do it. Especially as you grow older, you realize how short life really is and how little time you are given to check off all the tasks on your to-do list. Williams' angsty voice and the guitar plucks in the background emphasize the abruptness of this realization. The song flawlessly encapsulates the feeling of time being pulled away from your grasp.
The album is not made up entirely of hits though. "C'est Comme Ça," meaning "That's just the way it is" in French, is a more monotone song. Through the repetition of the lyrics "c'est comme ça" and "na na na na na," this song definitely develops a feeling of angst, but in a less distinguished way compared to the other songs of the album. The repeated "na na na na na" becomes annoying in the way Williams enunciates the words. Overall, this song feels unnecessary because of its dull delivery and its lack of lyrical creativity.
"Liar" is a refreshing break in the album. It is a slow, soft love song about Williams' relationship with fellow band member York. The instrumentals in the background bring about a more romantic tone. The difference in tone of this song in comparison to the other songs of the album shows Williams' soft spot for York. York and Williams' relationship as one of the longest-lasting members of the band furthers the tenderness of this song.
The album ends off with the song with the boldest lyrics: "Thick Skull." Although this was the first song written for the album, it was the last song in the album. It describes Williams' biggest insecurities about the genuinity of the band throughout her career and about the mistakes she had made repeatedly since the group’s rise to fame. However, it also highlights the power of resilience and Paramore's readiness to face new challenges. The strong piano and guitar sounds as well as the crescendos of Williams' voice build on the tension of the song. Williams leaves a strong message before ending this era of her career that had started the moment she signed the contract as a teen. "I just want to leave all those fears… here. I’m not taking it with me any further," Williams says to The Line of Best Fit.
The album perfectly encapsulates a feeling of persistent anxiety and angst throughout its ten songs in a cohesive manner, further heightened by Williams' belts and wide tone. Overall, the album is a masterpiece with bold lyrics, strong vocals and complementary instrumentals.
Paramore's 2023 North American tour begins May 23 in Charlotte, North Carolina. They perform at the Capital One Arena in Washington D.C. on June 2. More tour dates are listed here. "This is Why" is available on all streaming platforms.
Sophia Zeng. Hi! I'm Sophia and I'm a staff writer. I enjoy playing the piano, biking and listening to music. More »
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