There are not many Punk Rock bands that emerged in the mid-2000s who have been able to stand the test of time as Paramore has. Most of the “Punk” bands from that era focused on Emo Rock, and as their fan base got older, they stopped listening to that kind of music. These bands either were not able to adjust their sound to stay relevant or they were not able to stay popular regardless of if they were able to adjust. But Paramore is different. Paramore has been able to stay cutting edge and adjust their sound as the music world has drastically changed over the last fifteen years. They have also been able to stay popular with their original fan base while also being able to appeal to and accumulate new, younger fans. After a break of 6 years(during which their members worked on different solo projects), Paramore has returned with their new album This Is Why. It is said to be their boldest album to date, as they experiment sonically and get deeper with their lyricism than they have gotten before. With that being said, this is how I feel about This Is Why. Please let me know in the comments how you feel about This Is Why, and also comment on what your favorite songs from the project are.

Paramore starts out this record with the title track, ‘This Is Why.’ The first thing I noticed about this song is that it has a much harder Rock sound than what Paramore has done on their last couple of records. After veering away from Rock on the last couple of projects in favor of Pop and Pop-Rock, it seems as if they are back to a harsher sound. This song is driven by an extremely funky bassline and a glitchy and textured guitar riff. This riff has a bit of a Math Rock feel to it, as it is very complicated and kind of all over the place. Hayley Williams’ vocals are very nice and smooth on this record, but they do not overshadow the instrumental in any way which I love. On ‘This Is Why,’ Hayey Williams is singing about how it is tough for her to express her opinion or even go out in public because of how famous she has gotten. ‘This Is Why’ is a great way to start the record as it makes a statement lyrically and sonically. The hard Funk-Rock from the opener continues onto the next track ‘The News.’ This song is driven by an upbeat and anxious-sounding guitar riff and a fast and intense drum beat. It is the kind of track that can pump anyone up when they hear it because it just induces so much energy and emotion. I don’t even know what to compare this to as it is so unique sounding; it stands out in such a major way. Although the harsh nature of the song is fun, my favorite part of the song is probably the pre-chorus. It is a little softer and in a slightly different key, and it provides a nice break from the sharpness of the rest of the track. Hayley Williams flexes her vocals a bit more on this track and shows off why she is considered one of the best singers in music today. Her vocals match the energy of the instrumental so well. In ‘The News,’ Hayley Wiliams sings about the hypocrisy of our government and how it is not easy to watch the news because of how dark and depressing it is. ‘Running Out of Time’ is much calmer and softer than the record’s first two tracks. It keeps up with the Funk-Rock sound that the last two songs had, but it has a lot more of a Pop feel than those two. There are elements of this song that makes me think of modern Funky Dance-Rock bands like DNCE. The track has a pretty smooth sound to its instrumental during the verses, and it has a bit of a more vibrant sound during the chorus. The best thing about this track in my opinion is the vocals. Hayley Williams shows off her range on this track, with the verses being sung lower and more sweetly and the chorus being sung in a higher and harsher manner. On ‘Running Out of Time,’ Hayley Williams is singing about always being late and not managing time well. These things frustrate me and make her life more unnecessarily difficult. ‘C’est Comme Ca’ is a track that sonically reminds me a lot of the one that precedes it. It also has a Pop-Rock sound that is so cool and groovy. ‘C’est Comme Ca’ is even a little more Dancey and fun than ‘Running Out of Time.’ There is something about the way the guitar is mixed that reminds me of early 2000s Alternative bands like Modest Mouse. Hayley Williams does not do anything extra special with her vocals on this one. Her tone and cadence do fit the instrumental nicely, though, and add to the song’s cool energy. On ‘C’est Comme Ca,’ Hayley Williams is realizing that it is okay that she can’t control every aspect of her life and that sometimes a little spontaneity and disorder are okay. 

‘Big Man, Little Dignity has a Funky Pop Rock sound that is not super different than the two previous tracks, but there are things that make this one stand out from those two. It has an older sound than the two tracks before it. Instead of sounding like 2010s Pop Rock, this track has more of an old-school feeling to it. ’Big Man, Little Dignity’ reminds me a lot of an old foreign genre that has become very popular online recently, Japanese City Pop. This is a bright and vibrant Disco-influenced genre with a particularly warm sound that makes me feel good whenever I hear it. ‘Big Man, Little Dignity’ has such a catchy melody that is a total earworm in the best way. Hayley Williams’ vocals have a light and ethereal quality on this track that goes perfectly with the sound of the song. On ‘Big Man, Little Dignity’ Hayley Williams is singing about creepy men who are not held liable for being creeps. This song truly stands out to me, and it is my favorite on the record to this point. ‘You First’ brings in a different kind of Alternative Rock energy than we experienced at the beginning of the album. This track does have a bit of a Funk element to it, but it is a lot less funky than any of the songs before it. It also has a lot more of a modern Alternative Rock sound than the former songs. Instead of sounding like 70s and 90s music, this track reminds me of early 2000s Garage Rock. In particular, this track reminds me of The Strokes. Hayley Williams’ vocals do go well with the melody of ‘You First,’ but they do not stand out to me. In ‘You First,’ Hayley sings about how we all have bad and selfish tendencies, and how we have to fight to not succumb to these urges. Maybe it is because I love the song before it so much, but this track is sort of underwhelming to me. It is good but does not stand out as much as the other songs do. Maybe it is because the song before it is a bit tamer, but ‘Figure 8’ feels extra tough and weird. Sonically, this song is a lot closer to the first couple of songs of the record; it feels more distorted than those tracks, though. It has a hard Funk Rock sound that has a bit of an Industrial tint to it. The track has multiple different riffs that sort of contrast and compete with each other, and it is full of weird sound effects that add to the ambiance of the track. The instrumental has a bit of an uncomfortable feeling because of all the opposing sounds in the song. Hayley Williams pushes her vocals on this track, adding to the harsh nature of the track perfectly. On ‘Figure 8,’ Hayley Williams is singing about trying to get out of a toxic relationship.

‘Liar’ provides a complete switch-up from what we have heard on the album so far. This track has an Acoustic sound, which is so different from anything else before it on the record. It is by far the slowest and softest track on this song to this point. I appreciate this a lot because I feel like the album needed a buffer. The record has been so fast and hard-hitting, and it feels nice to calm down the energy for one track. ‘Liar’ has a sound that makes me think of artists like 90s Alternative Pop artists like Jewel and Fiona Apple. Hayley Williams’ vocals work so well on this track, as she softens her delivery to go with the energy of the track excellently. On ‘Liar,’ Hayley Williams is singing about trying to resist falling in love with a friend. ‘Crave’ is another song that has a sound that we have not really heard yet on this record. It kind of feels like a combination of a couple of other sounds from this record. It is like a morphing of the Funky Dance-Rock from ‘Running Out of Time’ and the Garage Rock of ‘You First.’ This track has one of the cleanest and most addicting melodies out of anything from this record. It is similar to ‘Big Man, Little Dignity’ in how it will randomly get stuck in your head because of how memorable the tune is. Hayley Williams’ vocals add so much to this song. She rides the melody so well and adds an extra layer of greatness to an already great song. On ‘Crave,’ Hayley Williams is singing about missing the good old days and wanting to relive your past. Paramore may have saved the best and craziest track for last with the track ‘Thick Skull.’ This song has such a climax feeling to it. Although it does follow the general melodic tone that the rest of the album has, it is pretty different from anything else on the record. For most of the song, it has a sort of acoustic Industrial Post-Grunge sound that sort of reminds me of the slower music from bands like Evanescence. There are points where the song gets slightly harder instrumentally(up until a certain point), but for the most part, it is acoustic sounding. Towards the end of the song, the instrumental picks up and becomes very tough and large. This gives the song(and the album in general) an epic climax. Hayley Williams’ vocals go with the energy of the track perfectly. She sings with a softer and nicer tone in the acoustic parts of the song and sings with a ton of emphasis and power in the grander parts of the song. On ‘Thick Skull,’ Hayley Williams is singing about struggling with wanting to blame everything on herself. It discusses the kind of issues with self-deprecation that many people suffer from. ‘Thick Skull’ is such a great way to end the record, as it makes sure This Is Why goes out with a major bang. 

From the discourse that I have seen online about This Is Why it has been a very polarizing record. On one hand, there are so many people(including most critics) who have lauded and praised the record, appreciating its entertaining, experimental nature and appreciating how Paramore was willing to step so far out of the box compared to what they have been known for. On the other hand, there are a lot of fans who grew up loving Paramore who are not so into this project because it is so different from what they have done in the past. I have always highly encouraged and loved when artists are willing to try something new, especially when they can execute it well. Even though I can see why some of their older fans do not like this project, as someone who also grew up listening to Paramore, I personally love it. This Is Why is so fresh and unique and it stands out among the current landscape of Alternative Rock music. It shows that Paramore can make great music that is nothing like what anyone would expect from them. Paramore’s This Is Why is an awesome Alternative Rock record that once again proves that Paramore is one of the most important acts to come out of the genre in the last two decades.




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