Album Review: Paramore – This Is Why2 min read
The list of early 2000s pop-punk and emo bands that are still thriving musically today grows smaller every year, with less than a handful successfully pursuing new sounds. Among that list is Paramore. Despite a turbulent career of line-up changes and law suit cases, the project – led solidly by vocalist and songwriter Hayley Williams – has survived much further than a lot of their contemporaries. On top of their longevity, they have managed to recreate themselves multiple times, with sixth album This Is Why toting another change in direction.
The album opens with comeback single and title track This Is Why, an angular rock song that drives on performance alone, not relying on production trickery for dynamic shifts. It speaks of the anxieties of leaving the house, something that many of us have experienced in the past few years, and will continue to face for the foreseeable. Post punk cut The News comes through we a juxtaposing flavour, but a similar lyrical tone. In it, Hayley aims at the media, talking about how ingesting too much of recent events is damaging to your mental health. You First is a biting song lyrically, describing everyone as ‘the bad guy’, but hoping that Karma comes for the focus of the piece first. It’s a good song for anyone feeling bitter over someone.
C’est Comme Ça brings spoken word passages into the mix, with Hayley describing her acceptance of her decent into borderline insanity, the title and chorus line translating simply to ‘it’s like that’. Figure 8 begins with what sounds like a warped synth, combined with tubular bells and brass. It intensifies with the introduction of the guitars, crunchy and jagged, bringing the punkier elements of Paramore’s sound back into the fray. Liar is a gorgeous, Radiohead-esc, acoustic-tinged song, reminiscent of Hayley’s recent solo work, while closer Thick Skull is a piano led explosive ending, allowing the singer to show off just a hint of her vocal ability.
This Is Why boarders between the Paramore that emerged in the early 2000s and the Paramore that returned with After Laughter. The grooves remain tight, and the melodic passages catchy and interesting, yet there’s a more fiery approach this time around. Lyrically and musically, the band are on fine form, finding intriguing topics and intuitive instrumentals that both keep the tracklist fresh and keep the listener hooked. It may feel well overdue, but Paramore have returned on a high.
Writer and Musician, Ryan Bulbeck has been published with a number of online publications, and has worked with a myriad of great artists, both as a performer, and as a producer. His most recent band The 295 are still active, playing shows around the UK.