Paramore’s new album in five years ‘This is Why’ is unexpected, honest, and refreshing

Written By Ana Bellamy, For The Globe

After five and a half years on hiatus, pop-punk legends Paramore return to the limelight with their sixth album titled “This is Why”. This new album propels the band into two new genres of music – art punk and shoegaze, with little musical hints of earlier Paramore albums, sprinkled in. 

Fans have been eagerly awaiting a new Paramore album ever since Hayley Williams announced the band’s return in November of 2021. Fans have been pleading for Paramore to make their emo comeback, especially after releasing the poppiest Paramore album to date, “After Laughter” in 2017. Emo nostalgia is at its peak with an explosion of festivals and cruises targeted at specific millennial emo fanbases. Unlike many bands that are capitalizing on this emo comeback, Paramore decided to take their music in a new direction all while raising awareness of the toxicity within the music industry and emo/pop punk culture itself. 

In the album, vocalist and songwriter Hayley Williams shares what she has been going through over the past five and a half years – tension, frustration, healing, time management, anger, and politics. The intricate composition of each song proves that each of the musicians’ songwriting skills are maturing. The first song on the album, “This is Why” establishes a dissociative atmosphere that frames the whole album and allows for the experimentation of Hayley Williams, Taylor York, Zac Farro, and additional backing musicians to thrive. 

Untraditional instruments such as an assortment of flutes, clarinets, and a vibraphone can be heard on the songs “Running Out of Time” and “Big Man, Little Dignity.” These instruments, in addition to the usual electric and bass guitar and drums, make a lot of the songs on the album sound both upbeat and chaotic, much like the classic art-punk band the Talking Heads. Hayley Williams’s spoken word in the songs “The News” and “C’est Comme Ça’ ” is a nice surprise and helps add edginess to the songs. 

Williams’ feelings about misogyny in the music industry, something that has followed her ever since she started the band when she was around sixteen, is shared in the song “Big Man, Little Dignity.” Hayley Williams’ lyrics are powerful, and her voice is filled with anger as she sings about men in her life that will never get justice for their actions. This song comes out a few weeks after Hayley Williams told Billboard how Fat Mike, lead singer of NOFX and manager of the record label Fat Wreck Records, made suggestive comments about her when she was 19. 

Hayley Williams and co. created a slow, but endearing love song that specifies the hardships of love and the complications of loving yourself and trusting another. “Liar” begins like a lullaby with the help of Taylor York’s brisk yet melancholic guitar playing. Zac Farro’s delicate, intricate drumming provides a heartbeat for the song. The ballad picks up on similar themes from Hayley Williams’ solo album “Petals for Armor” which she put out in 2020. That album focused on self-reflection and mental health. At the end of the album, she shares her feelings about how she fell in love again. Both this song and the album share with listeners the insecurities and hopefulness of love.

If you are seeking the old Paramore sound, I recommend checking out the title track, “You First”, “Figure 8”, and “Crave”.  This album proves to fans that artistic experimentation is worth it, even though it means losing a few fans that are begging for the old Paramore to come back.