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Paramore 2022

ALBUM REVIEW: Paramore – ‘This Is Why’

The last few years have been long for, pretty much everyone, but if you’re a Paramore fan, then the last 5 and a half years have felt especially long. Well, the wait is officially over, This Is Why, Paramore’s sixth studio album is out today.

This record is an accumulation of ‘Lessons learned’ over the last 5 or so years, the Tennessee trio shared some insight on this record with their fans; this album is as much about personal growth and anxieties, as it is about political rage and fear about things out of our control. It’s about being agoraphobic and claustrophobic at the same time, this is album is part of the pandemic aftermath.

Taking a break between releases is not a new thing for Paramore, however this time, they took a break just because they wanted to. The result is Paramore proving once again that they are the masters of reinvention. Their constant evolution makes them a once in a generation band. There is a lot of nostalgia surrounding the emo revival that is happening now, however this album is not that, this is Paramore evolved.

Despite title track This Is Why being the first single and opening the record, it was the last to be completed, almost not making it on. Lyrically full of the same energy and fire you come to expect from a Paramore track but welcoming in a new chapter, this single embodying what the whole record is about.

The News, musically sounds a lot more like the Paramore we have previously been acquainted with, lyrically it doesn’t pull any punches either. “Every second our collective heart breaks / all together every head shakes / shut your eyes but it won’t go away / turn on, turn off the news”. The News manages to feel relatable but on a mass scale, confronting feelings all of us have had to sit with over the last few years.

C’est Comme Ça, translated is – it’s like that or it is what it is. Williams has shared this is her “Trying to get un-addicted to a survival narrative” this track leans into change, learning to embrace it and ultimately even though the subject matter is one that might be a little close to home for some, the track is fun, catchy and with Paramore’s sarcasm and wit shining through in their song writing.

This Is Why, may be the most direct record that the group have ever produced, Big Man, Little Dignity is a prime example of that. This track is about abuses of power and the systems that fail us and lead vocalist Hayley Williams has talked openly about this being a personal track for her, about how you can work through feelings of anger and accept that it’s okay to feel the way you do.

Some stand out moments on the record come in the second half. Figure 8, one of the heavier tracks on the record, really showcasing the talents of guitar player Taylor York, you can already imagine how good this would sound in a room full of people. Track 8 is Liar, “love is not an easy thing to admit / but I am not ashamed of it / love is not a weakening, if you feel it rushing in” filled with raw emotion, honesty and beautiful instrumentals it’s one of the most powerful songs on the record.

The first song written for this record and the catalyst for all of this is what closes the album. Thick Skull may be more subtle in sound comparatively to some of the 80s sounding emo-dance numbers on this album, however, this gentle, soulful piano led track accompanied by the drums sounding as good as they do, is the perfect way to finish this record.

Paramore are set to go on tour in support of This Is Why this spring, with dates in South America, UK, Ireland and North America with support from Bloc Party.

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Katie Dove