After a long and gruelling six years since a new Paramore album, the band has delivered something fresh to us, inviting us to discuss our anxieties in this world through a dreamy sound backed with ironic lyrics.
Coming off the back of the pop sound “After Laughter” gave us in 2017, this new landscape and genre is something you wouldn’t expect Haley Williams to try out. William’s voice combined with the band’s typical sound, that familiar loud and aggressive raucous, is now the complete juxtaposition of their past in this new album, which makes it that much more wonderful and well-needed after the past years without anything new.
Paramore begins their album by telling us “This is Why” they don’t leave the house, but the song itself never answers that, leaving more to be answered in the rest of the album. The album’s sound itself is strung together with hazy vocals and misty guitar strokes.
The band conveys their anger and anxiety with the world throughout this album. “Running Out Of Time” puts anxiety in the spotlight, as the song asks self-conscious questions like “What if I’m just a selfish prick,” and discusses how we lie in order to escape taking accountability for something as simple as being late. And yet, only three minutes later, Hayley ironically drones “getting better is boring” in “C’est Comme Ça.”
Where Paramore used to take matters into their own hands, like in “Misery Business” where Hayley belts “But I got him where I want him now,” the sixth track on “This Is Why” says they wish for karma to handle the bad guys. The song is also full of self-realization and selfishness, as in “everyone’s a bad guy” but they still hope “karma… comes for you first.”
In the second half of the album, we are met with “Figure 8,” where we finally submerge into the sound dreamscape Paramore is begging us to enter. The song begins with a melody of electronic bells, a motif that carries the whole song. “Liar” continues this feeling with an otherworldly guitar backed with bell hits and a toned-down Hayley Williams that truly sounds heavenly.
However, this album’s true gem lies in the middle. “Big Man, Little Dignity” perfectly sums up this album and Paramore into the sound and message they’re aiming for with “This Is Why.” The song begins with an amazing synth featuring riffs of a flute, right in time for the guitar and drum to start their set. This type of sound perfectly juxtaposes the heaviness of the song, where the lead singer sings with bitterness “know you could get away with anything, so that’s exactly what you do.” Hayley has been vocal about abortion rights, and this song seems to be her answer to the recent developments in the United States over a synth-wave, jazz club-inspired track.
Paramore makes their comeback to the music scene with a newfound desire to experiment, while keeping to their roots and holding on to those post-punk elements throughout their whole album. It’s a sound that’s a breath of fresh air from the dull droning of “Unholy” or the overdone disco and funk influences of songs like “Flowers.” As Paramore puts it, we’ve been experiencing “complete and utter apathy” and “This Is Why” is their gift to us. Songs to scream, songs to make you reflect and songs to just wind down to. “This Is Why” has it all.