After five and a half years since their last album “After Laughter,” Paramore returns to the music scene with their post-punk album “This Is Why.” Over the course of this album, lead singer Hayley Williams sings of uncertainty, agoraphobia and fear in a more laid-back voice than I expected. While listening to the album, I noticed the main theme was not urgency, but rather apathy.
Instead of going back to the now-resurging pop-punk sound that they are known for, the band takes the unexpected route by using acoustic and 1970’s inspired sounds on tracks such as “This is Why,”“Thick Skull” and “Figure 8.” As an avid Paramore fan I was impressed with their refusal to become a “nostalgia band” and feel forced to go back to their old sound. However, I felt the like single “The News” took inspiration from their previous sounds while adding a more adult message.
A few favorite tracks of mine include “The News,” “C’est Comme Ça” and “Crave.” In “The News,” Williams sings about the news industry profiting off of tragedy while the band blares electric guitar riffs. “Exploitative/Performative/Informative/And we don’t know the half of it/Rhetorical/Deplorable/Historical/And all along we call it normal,” she sings. In “C’est Comme Ça ” Paramore uses an almost child-like instrumentation while Williams sings about the draining reality of adulthood. “Crave” feels like a call back to the band’s 2009 album “Brand New Eyes” with the same scene kid behind the song “All I Wanted” just grown up. Particularly, the lyrics “You say, ‘Live in the present’/ I’m already dreamin’ of how it begins/And tryin’ to savor the moment/ But I know the feelin’ will come to an end” carry the same vocal power Williams had in “All I Wanted.”
There are a few moments this album falls short, however. To me, the biggest glaring issue is that the album is only 36 minutes long. This left me craving more and left me unsatisfied after waiting almost six years for new Paramore music. My other complaint is the lack of bridges within the album. Bridges add more to a song, but the lack of them in “This Is Why” leads to the songs going by far too fast. This is not just a Paramore issue, but rather an issue within the music industry as a whole. This often results in songs feeling a bit empty and leaving listeners expecting more.
Overall, “This is Why” by Paramore is a solid body of work. It encapsulates the apathy I and many others feel with the world’s condition today. I definitely recommend this album as a must-listen, but wish that it was a bit longer.