Paramore has been a band since 2004 and with almost two decades of music, they still manage to surprise fans. This Is Why is the Tennessee band’s sixth studio album and it might be their best work yet. The album is mature and thought provoking, but keeps a good balance of playful and honest tracks. Hayley Williams vocals are more impressive than every and Taylor York and Zac Farro mix in instrumentals from many different genres. However, with their growth and changing sounds, everything still feels uniquiely Paramore.
The album immediately jumpstarts with four high-energy tracks in a row. “This Is Why,” “The News,” and “C’est Comme Ça,” were all released as singles. All are songs clearly written about the struggles during the pandemic from not leaving the comfort of home and the endless cycle of tragic news stories. Then we get a new track “Running Out of Time” about the anxieties of never accomplishing things on time. The front half of the 10 track album is brimming with relatable bangers. These songs show the band experimenting with pop and indie sounds in addition to their usual punk rock genre. Clearly, the band still knows how to make hits while progressing musically.
The next 3 tracks slow the pace a bit, but are still emotionally charged. “Big Man, Little Dignity” hits the nail on the head with addressing men who seem to get away with everything. As music is an industry with mostly men in positions of power, this is a hard hitting track. Next, “You First” is a track about good vs. evil. Similar to other Hayley lyrics, it references how hard it can be to be the bigger person and rarely is someone truly good. Lines like “never said I wasn’t petty,” hit close to home. Then, “Figure 8” is about being stuck in an endless cycle of giving your all to people who doesn’t deserve your energy. It’s a painful feeling, but it’s all too common.
Finally, the album comes to a close with three back to back slower tracks. Firstly, we get the only love song of the album, “Liar.” This beautiful track Hayley wrote about Taylor and how hard it was for her to admit she wanted to be more than friends. Then, “Crave” is a beautiful song about nostalgia. Craving to relive the good times is bittersweet. Finally, the album closes with “Thick Skull” a culmination of all the thoughts and ideas from this album as well as eras past. It’s an artful mix of a somber sharing of insecurities and crashing cymbals. With a slow piano start and a funky guitar solo in the middle it’s the perfect choice for an album closer.
Hayley, Taylor, and Zac pushed themselves in a new direction for this album and it really paid off. Despite the short tracklist, it encapsulates feelings many of us had in the last few years since After Laughter. This Is Why brings Paramore into a new era creatively and sonically. However, many of their fans have grown with them. Transitioning from teens to adults and living through so much is often tough, but there is love to look forward to and good times to look back at fondly. So, don’t miss out on the This Is Why era whether it’s at a show or listening at home. Dance and cry a little because all the feels are truly what makes Paramore one of the best.