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Paramore delves into adult angst on ‘This Is Why’

Pop-punk band Paramore returned after a six-year break with "This Is Why," an album that both returns to and evolves the sound fans have come to know and love.
Pop-punk band Paramore returned after a six-year break with "This Is Why," an album that both returns to and evolves the sound fans have come to know and love.

Paramore is one of the most iconic bands of our generation.

Since their debut in 2005, the band has had a chokehold on the indie, alternative and emo communities. Frontwoman Hayley Williams was only 16 years old when Paramore released their first record, “All We Know Is Falling.”

Williams is now 34. She’s grown up in the public eye, as has drummer Zac Farro, who was 14 when the group first formed. Guitarist Taylor York joined Paramore in 2007.

Paramore has evolved from their pop-punk roots. Their self-titled record, released in 2013, was a bit of a shift from their original sound. It was more of a pop-sounding album with elements of rock.

 “After Laughter,” which came out in 2017, was a more drastic change, as the band experimented with a new wave, synthpop-esque sound.

On Feb. 10, Paramore returned with their sixth studio album, “This Is Why.”

Tonally, the record sounds similar to today’s alternative rock but at moments also feels reminiscent of the band’s original sound. Lyrically, “This Is Why” explores a post-pandemic world and encapsulates adulthood angst through jagged sounds and caustic lyrics.

The album opens with its titular track and lead single. Williams’s vocals creep over mellow instrumentals before erupting into the catchy chorus: “This is why I don't leave the house / You say the coast is clear / But you won't catch me out.”

“This Is Why” is a gripping opener, and right off the bat Paramore communicates what this record is going to entail. It immediately became one of my favorite tracks.

“The News,” which was also released as a single, follows the title track. Out of all the songs on “This Is Why,” this one sounds the most like old Paramore. It’s an eerily accurate portrayal of what it feels like to live in today’s world: constantly seeing despair in the news, living through major historical events and observing how the internet has divided humankind.

Williams gets sardonic about her anxiety surrounding time management on “Running Out of Time.” To me, this song feels similar to the sounds on “After Laughter,” but still fits into the album.

It’s a relatable track about feeling as if you have no control over life or time, which I can certainly resonate with.

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The final single, “C’est Comme Ça,” translates to ‘it is what it is’ in French. It seems to be a continuation of “Running Out of Time,” as Williams tries to accept the chaotic aspects of her life.

This is one of the most unique songs I’ve heard by Paramore. It opens with a fast-paced, upbeat chorus, then shifts to Williams almost speaking instead of singing. It’s a fun song that’s definitely grown on me since my first listen.

On “Big Man, Little Dignity,” Williams confronts big-wig men in power, singing, “Well, well, well, look at you, don't you clean up nice? / Bet it feels good to leave the past behind / Your subscription to redemption has been renewed / You keep your head high, smooth operator in a shit-stained suit.”

Talk about sticking it to the man.

The beginning of “You First” sounds almost like an alarm, and initially caught me off guard. However, I still enjoyed it, as it’s very pop-punk. Williams sings about a war within herself, and delivers one of my favorite lines from the album: “Turns out I’m livin’ in a horror film / Where I’m both the killer and the final girl.”

I must say, the lyrics on “This Is Why” (the album) are impeccable — Paramore truly captures the tumultuous feelings of being an adult in our modern world.

“Crave” is one of my favorite songs from the album. It’s a beautiful track about moments passing you by and a yearning for memories of the past. Living in the moment is a difficult thing to do, especially as an adult, while time seems to be fleeting.

Another one of my favorite lines comes from “Crave:” “I romanticize even the worst of times.”

Enough said.

“Thick Skull” is the album’s final track, and it’s pretty personal. Interestingly enough, it was the first song written for “This Is Why.” It’s a good closer for the record, especially considering what Williams stated about the song in an interview for The Line Of Best Fit: “The last song of the album is reflective of my biggest insecurities throughout our career…I just want to leave all those fears and the bullshit here. I’m not taking it with me any further.”

“This Is Why” is definitely Paramore’s most mature album, both sound and lyric-wise. The band has come a long way since their debut, and it’s been incredible to grow up with the band.

From angry teenage anthems to angsty songs about adulthood, Paramore will have a lifelong fan in me.

Rating: 9/10