‘This Is Why’: Fresh yet familiar sound from Paramore
Five years after its members began exploring their craft in separate endeavors and solo paths, Paramore has released its sixth album, “This Is Why.” The latest collection reflects the band’s maturation over the years, as it gradually distances itself from the mainstream emo/pop-punk world and delves into a slick and fresh yet familar sound.
Their time away from each other bodes well for Paramore as the album takes the best aspects of what fans love about the band and in its members’ solo projects in the past and distills them, while addressing the nuances of adulthood and social change without being preachy. Guitarist Taylor York and drummer Zac Farro give this body of work the edge and grit it needs.
Navigating a chaotic world
Lead vocalist Hayley Williams takes centerstage in the album, delivering powerful vocals that range from high and wide to low and quavering. Her voice is the perfect complement to the angular, postpunk instrumentals. Williams’ lyrics are contemplative and existential, touching on the challenges of aging and the journey of an adult navigating a chaotic world.
The title track, “This Is Why,” is a complex and soulful number with a psychedelic bridge and jazzy free rhythms. Williams intones a message of standing up for oneself, adding an edge to the irresistible anthemic chorus. Throughout the album, Williams mixes her loathing with memorable choruses.
In “Big Man Little Dignity,” Williams dares to defy the norm with a funky, rhythmic fable on the pitfalls of the entertainment industry. With a voice imbued with irony and verve, her hard-hitting lyric—“Your subscription to redemption has been renewed”—hits the spot.
With its blend of atmospheric guitars, tracks such as “Liar” and “Crave” take listeners along on Williams’ journey through her mental health struggles and growing up in the public eye. The rest of the tracks tells the story of Hayley’s change of mindset and newfound acceptance of her life and aging.
The final track, “Thick Skull,” brings the album to a fitting close with an enigmatic aura, leaving listeners with the impression that Paramore continues to question the world.
The album is cohesive. “This Is Why” is a story told in two parts, with the first half being loud and screaming, as if trying to cut through the chaotic noise of the world, and the second half accepting defeat yet remaining optimistic of what the future holds.
The rhythm of time moves forward, and with it comes the progression of sound. Paramore stands apart from the rest because it isn’t afraid to evolve or explore uncharted musical territories.
“This Is Why” is a symphony of sounds that weaves together the ethereal beauty of ’80s alternative with the raw energy of 2000s indie rock. It is a natural evolution from the group’s previous work, the synth-pop classic “After Laughter,” showcasing its commitment to growth and artistic expression.
With a voice that echoes the defiance of youth, yet bears the wisdom of experience, Paramore pours its soul and spirit into “This is Why.”
Shifting away from the rebellious riffs of “RIOT!,” it embraces a sound that is all its own. It is a declaration of evolution, a testament to the band’s experience and artistic expression. This album is the best release of 2023 to date—a veritable treat for anyone who enjoys punk, rock and alternative music.