By Victoria White
Paramore’s latest album “This Is Why” is here to prove punk is not dead and is, in fact, not a phase.
The album, their first as a group in six years, sees the band return more to their older sound, but with a maturity in lyricism that comes with life experience.
Band members Hayley Williams, Taylor York and Zac Farro are now in their early 30s. They still bang their heads to the music; they just see their chiropractors afterwards.
With themes of self-reflection and societal frustration, “This Is Why” appeals to the Paramore fan of today in the same way “Riot!” appealed to the Paramore fan of 2007. Instead of continuing to make music for the same age base for multiple decades (I’m looking at you, Weezer) Paramore have allowed themselves to age with their fans. In doing so, their music maintains its integrity and feels more genuine.
Have you ever thought about doing something kind for another person – really, truly considered it, but ultimately didn’t do it for some self-excused reason? Paramore has, and they want you to know you aren’t alone. But you probably won’t like what that means.
“Running Out of Time” sees the band going through numerous moments when they really wanted to do something, like say, bring flowers to a neighbor, but then ultimately not follow through because of a lack of time.
“I’m always running out of time,” Williams said. “Intentions only get you so far – a harsh reality to discover.”
Just like their 2013 hit “Ain’t It Fun,” Paramore yet again gives their listeners a bitter pill to swallow – this time with the fact that having good intentions does not make you a good person. It’s all about the follow-through and the act of making time to do those things. The album is not short on moments of unfortunate relatability like this.
Like the rest of us, the members of Paramore were stuck inside for the bulk of 2020 and 2021. The title track feels like a COVID-19 anthem of sorts. The track was born from Williams’ astonishment of the last few years and what it has done to the human experience.
“It summarizes the plethora of ridiculous emotions, the rollercoaster of being alive in 2022, having survived even just the last three or four years,” Williams said.
The frustration on a global scale also shows itself in “The News.” In the track, Williams sings about a concept we are likely all familiar with: the initial intrigue and ultimate dread that comes with keeping up with the current news cycle.
A full year into the war between Russia and Ukraine, the song reflects on the feeling of uselessness from across the world and our performative, exploitative nature during moments of tragedy.
Paramore’s last album, 2017’s “After Laughter,” was a departure from the band’s usual sound. Swapping punk for new wave and drums for marimbas, the album was different sonically from anything in the band’s discography up to that point. While the sound undoubtedly worked for them, it’s nice to see the band return to their pop-punk roots.
In the six years between albums, Williams, York and Farro took part in other musical projects. Williams released two solo albums: “Petals for Armor” and “Flowers for Vases” in 2020 and 2021, respectively. The albums allowed Williams more creative control and had a much more raw sound than the music typical of Paramore. York helped produce “Petals for Armor” and Farro released music as the sole member of the band HalfNoise.
Sometimes, a hiatus is just what a band needs creatively. Even if the music has not yet suffered, a break can keep things feeling fresh. Bands Fall out Boy and Sleater-Kinney managed to make a hiatus work for them, and they both came back swinging. Paramore are no exception to this. “This Is Why” is an excellent entry in their discography and is worthy to stand next to albums like “Paramore” and “Brand New Eyes.”
Rating: 5 / 5