This is Why
Atlantic Records · February 10, 2023
Paramore released their first album since 2017, and it is different from their last pop escapade, After Laughter. The Grammy award-winning emo rock band consists of lead singer Hayley Williams, guitarist Taylor York, and drummer Zac Farro. During the last half-decade, the band took a break and Williams released two experimental solo projects, one of which drummer Farro also worked on.
This is Why is a brief comeback after an erratic five years which included: a pandemic, insurrections, wars, forest fires, Brexit. Frontloaded with heavy guitar-driven singles, the album at times clouds itself with cliche lyrics.
“This Is Why” leads as the title track with a 2000s garage band feel. The electric guitar riff leads the song to victory. It is funky and fun and worthy of the opening spot in the album.
In “The News,” Williams sings of battles on the other side of the world and within herself using lyrics like “Far, I’m far / So far, from the front line / Quite the opposite, I’m safe inside.” She continues with more lyrics that sound similar to an angsty privileged teenager writing in their diary, “But I worry, and I give money / And I feel useless behind this / computer.” But, Williams’ delivery oozes confidence and poise, making it easier to ignore the platitudes.
“C’est Comme Ça” starts off with a fervent guitar that falls short due to its unoriginality. The spoken portions of the song lack drive and finesse, making the song reminiscent of one by an industry plant punk band from Tiktok.
The playful instrumentals and sharp words in “Figure 8” make the track one of the standouts of this album. Songs about cliche figure 8’s or infinity are in no way abundant. But with lyrics like “All for your sake / I lost my way / Spinning in an endless figure / Eight,” the band manages to make for an ardent and relatable break up song.
“Thick Skull” is the not-too-grand finale. Daintily sung lyrics are layered among each other and over a muddied electric guitar. A brief guitar solo accents the song and gives a taste of what could have been from this diamond in the rough. It falls short, causing the song to feel more like an interlude that was recorded for too long.
After half a decade, more can be expected from an iconic emo band like Paramore, but they bring some memorable songs with their mixed bag creation.