Paramore have always been a band to take the reality they’re living in and translate it into rock-infused, addictive pop-punk hits that speak to hundreds of thousands of people. Having grown up in front of and with their fans – and vice versa – the trio has moved on to become music industry veterans, despite their still very young age. Nearly two decades after their debut album and five years since the release of their Grammy-winning, world-changing record ‘After Laughter’, the group has returned with their newest long-player ‘This Is Why’, a poignant, all-too-true view on what living in the 21st century feels like, with all its ups and downs.
Paramore have always been a band to take the reality they’re living in and translate it into rock-infused, addictive pop-punk hits that speak to hundreds of thousands of people. Having grown up in front and with their fans – and vice versa – the trio have moved on to become music industry veterans, despite their still very young age. Nearly two decades after their debut album and five years since the release of their Grammy-winning, world-changing record ‘After Laughter’, the group has returned with their newest long-player ‘This Is Why’, a poignant, all-too-true view on what living in the 21st century feels like, with all its ups and downs.
Racing right into the title track ‘This Is Why’, we follow singer Hayley Williams on a walk through all the reasons why staying at home right now might just be the better option. As always supported by guitarist Taylor York’s electrifying lines and Zac Farro’s addictive drums, the band observes modern life and why it can all be a bit rubbish at times. The song perfectly lines up with its follower, the haunting ‘News’ and its many tales about our sometimes unhealthy relationship with 24-hour newsfeeds and the angst that surrounds it all, “I’m far, so far from a front line / Quite the opposite, I’m safe inside / But I worry and I give money / And I feel useless behind this computer / And that’s just barely scratched the surface of my mind”.
What comes next can be seen either as an angsty discussion about how our beautiful Mother Earth is in danger and our time here is quite literally running out or as a textbook anthem for notorious latecomers. While both options have been hinted at by vocalist Williams and the choice lies in the listener’s lap, ‘Running Out Of Time’ proves to be a fun musical rollercoaster ride either way and stands among the best songs of the group’s sixth record.
Through the jagged guitars that kick off the ludicrously catchy ‘C’est Comme Ça’, the laid-back pop ballad ‘Big Man, Little Dignity’, which has Paramore openly calling out today’s blatant misogyny and all the men who have never been held accountable for their actions, and lastly the central theme of choosing good over evil within yourself in the rageful ‘You First’, we are welcomed into the heartful, emotionally-heavy second half of the album in which Williams’ serene vocal talents arrive at home.
‘Figure 8’ sounds and feels quintessentially Paramore-esque and flickers with the playful alt-poppy traces from ‘After Laughter’ while Williams howls, “All for your sake / Became the very thing that I hate”. Even more personal realms are entered with the next ‘Liar’, a ballad-ish exhalation of a love confession to Williams’ band member and partner Taylor York, and her denial of her feelings and the sudden ease that came with the beginnings of a healthy relationship with the right person. And then there is the rose-coloured ‘Crave’, a homage to the past and the acceptance of everything that has happened because at the end of the day growing older might actually not be that bad, as Williams harmonises, “What if I told ’em that now that I’m older / There isn’t a moment that I’d wanna change?”.
Tying it all together with a massive, final bow, the stunning and arguably stand-out hit on the album ‘Thick Skull’, we see ‘This Is Why’ come to a close with the first song written for the record but the last in its tracklist. Glistening with Williams’ soft harmonies and nostalgic rock riffs, the song melts into fiery roars and imposing drum beats before its grand bellowing exit. With this final act, the alt-pop masters take one last look at their past and it seems they are ready to let all of it go, with ‘This Is Why’ being the last album of the era of their career as part of the same contract they signed as the teenagers they still were when it all began. A lot has changed since then, but it looks like the trio has finally arrived at a place of relief. One, where even after being put through the wringer multiple times, they have evolved into one of the most widely-respected acts of their generation and a band that can do one thing best – age gracefully and with ease.
Paramore’s new album ‘This Is Why’ is out now. Follow them on Instagram and Spotify.
Written by Laura Weingrill