Paramore – This Is Why
To give an idea of how different the world was when Paramore released their last album, Alex Smith was the Chiefs starting quarterback. During nearly six years of downtime, band members released multiple solo albums, leaving fans to question if they’d ever hear new material from the pop/rock trio.
Thankfully, after six months of trickling out singles, Paramore’s sixth album, This Is Why, has arrived. As the lead single, opening cut and title track “This Is Why” does a lot of heavy lifting. Fortunately, “This is Why” is up to the task, serving a perfect encapsulation of the sense of dread, fear and survivor’s guilt that have engulfed the world since early 2020.
“This is why I don’t leave the house,” singer Hayley Williams bellows on the chorus. “You say the coast is clear/But you won’t catch me out/Oh, why?
This is why.” The feeling of being overwhelmed and uncertain carries into the rocking second track, “The News.” Williams and her bandmates touch on these themes several more times across the album’s 10 songs and 37 minutes. “Big Man, Little Dignity” targets men wealthy enough to live without consequences for their greed and selfishness. “C’est comme ça,” the second single, details the time when a chiropractic appointment was a big social occasion. Translated to “it is what it is,” the resignation of the lyrics are countered by a hyperactive guitars and a bouncy chorus.
In the run-up to This Is Why, Paramore said they were inspired by the guitar-driven indie rock they grew up on in the early ‘00s. There are echoes of Bloc Party, Futureheads, OK Go and Foals across the album, but also early ‘80s New Wave. By tweaking their sound, Paramore not only make This Is Why sonically rewarding, but keeps the often grim lyrics at bay. -Joel Francis