The moment all Paramore fans, old and new, have been waiting for since 2017, finally arrived on February 10 through Atlantic Records, when the album This Is Why was released. This was after giving us a sneak peek with the three singles: “This Is Why”, “The News” and “C’est Comme Ça”.
Hayley Williams (lead singer), Taylor Zork (guitarist), and Zac Farro (drummer) did not shy away in this raw yet polished record, which dissects the anxiety of living in these COVID/post-COVID times.
“Every time I cannot believe that something is happening, whether it’s planet, politics, social stuff, I am always [like]; This is why we cannot have nice things”, Hayley recently said in an interview with BBC Sounds on Everything Is Emo.
Watching the video of “This is Why” two things come to mind. One: the song captures the truth of how most people are feeling in this uncertain era. Two: Hailey’s voice has aged like fine wine.
She effortlessly maintains her ability to hit the high notes, just like she did on “That’s What You Get” (2008), while also showcasing a mature sound. Overall, it’s clear that Hailey’s talent has only grown stronger with time.
As much as we like to keep up to date, there is no denying the tragedies, revolutions and social movements that the news covers every day. Sometimes we can be so glued to the news that we feel anxiety. There are countless articles, movies, and podcasts which discuss the effects of social media, the press, and the news on our psyche.
We are reminded in “The News” that “every second our collective hearts break,” when we witness bad news in the media. Zac’s drums pounding urgently in the background is the perfect analogy of breaking news!
Zac and Taylor continue to ramp it up dynamically to produce a varied yet cohesive sound on “Running Out of Time,” which is the last single of the album, released on February 16.
Although the vocals and instruments unite perfectly throughout the album, we do not know Paramore for playing it safe. “Crave” is one such example of that on this record.
In addition, “Big Man, Little Dignity” contains a disparity between its darker lyrics and its disco instrumental. It is on the edge of sounding nonchalant yet dark because of the lighter instrumentals and I would not change a thing about it.
That’s just the way it is or as Paramore would say: C’est Comme Ça. “C’est Comme Ça” is catchy, edgy, and raunchy, offering apathetic commentary on social gatherings and how draining they can be. Two other electrifying songs that give the same energy are “You First” and “Figure 8.”
This album is hardly shy; it lets its voices and instruments speak for themselves. But it is not just angst, anxiety, and electrifying musicality that keep this album stuck in my mind; it is the sharp turn it takes with “Liar”.
The song is purely cathartic: it’s the quiet after the storm and the order after the chaos. It is about healing, as Hayley’s ethereal voice offers true, uncorrupted love in this world filled with uncertainty and questioning.
The mellower “Thick Skull” feels like trying to survive in the aftermath. Her voice feels hopeless, almost like a wail. I feel this correlates to life after the pandemic. We can all relate that after all the restrictions were lifted and things got back to normal, it was not quite that easy to adjust.
I could listen to this album on a road trip with some friends, while cleaning the house, or even in my free time. The deeper lyrics allow one to think and reflect, but the upbeat melody helps to relax the mind. This is a memorable album; it feels disco, alternative, and dainty.
The only shortcoming for me would be that they did not take more risks with the instrumentals. But opinions are subjective, and that little fact does not take away from the fact that Paramore is still here and cementing their legacy with more music.
Listen to Paramore’s This Is Why album below and purchase it here.
Words by Melisa Nyamukondiwa