Andy Kamis | Staff Writer
Feb. 16, 2023
Famous pop-punk trio Paramore recently resurfaced after a six-year hiatus with the release of their new album, “This Is Why,” on Feb. 10. Lead singer Hayley Williams presents meaningful lyrics on each of the 10 tracks, while guitarist Taylor York and drummer Zac Farro provide just the right amount of musical accompaniment to remind the world of Paramore’s brilliance.
In an Apple Music interview with Zane Lowe, Williams commented on the band’s inactivity by describing how they felt overworked in their careers.
“Being in a band and doing all the things we do, you have to plan out years in advance and that’s not how life works,” she said. As it turned out, the time off helped contribute to the new album. “As soon as we started working again, I just felt like I was insatiable. I was greedy, like inwardly…Sometimes I think that’s such a good propeller,” she said.
“This Is Why” focuses a lot on the trio’s mental health, but it also dives into the worldwide challenges that people have faced in recent years like divisiveness, exploitation and the effects of Covid-19.
In the interview, Lowe talked about how the album can relate to people from all walks of life. “If there’s one theme on this album…to me it is quite a serious take on the human condition. And not in a sort of ‘I understand it’ way [but] in an ‘I don’t [understand it way] and I’m entirely a part of it.’”
Perhaps most importantly, the album gives reason to Paramore’s absence: All of the tracks emphasize their tiredness from the ongoing conflict in the world. This is especially evident in the album’s titular track where Williams sings: “This is why I don’t leave the house / You say the coast is clear / but you won’t catch me out.” Throughout this track, the band references their inactivity, citing recent and overwhelming societal demands. To put it simply, “this is why” Paramore has been away for so long.
The next track, “The News,” adds a new layer of understanding for Paramore’s fatigue from the events of the past six years. Williams’ lyrics explain the weariness and repressive pain from an increasingly dark world: “A war, a war, right behind my eyes…Every second our collective heart breaks. All together every single head shakes. Shut your eyes but it won’t go away. Turn on, turn off the news.”
The lyrics in this song — and most of the others too — indicate that she is fed up with the consistent flow of horrors displayed by the media. She sings about her frustration with the media for continuing to exploit and separate people, instead of bringing people together.
“Liar” gives more insight into the emotional toll the last couple of years have had on the band, specifically Williams’ challenges with mental health. After finding herself in a healthier romantic relationship with band member Taylor York, Williams wrote this song as a reminder that it is okay to feel love again. This messaging in the music brings closure to her previous marriage to Chad Gilbert, which ended in 2017.
The track that finished off the album is “Thick Skull” and tells a hypothetical story where all of the negative presumptions or attacks on Williams’ reputation became true.
“I’ve always been so afraid of what people said about me in the context of Paramore, like truly terrified of it, and to be indulgent in that and say ‘what if’ was so freeing…Like it was healing to a younger version of myself,” Williams said.
Williams’ embraces the deprecation and ends the album with the lines: “Come on, give it to me, give it to me…I pick ‘em up and now my fingers are bleedin’ / And it looks like I’m caught red-handed.”
Overall, “This Is Why” introduces many new hit songs from the band and really showcases their talent. It also is a huge accomplishment for Paramore as it demonstrates their growth from all of the hardships they had to overcome during their hiatus.
In the end, Paramore came back for their fans. They are ready to be heard again, and they have a lot to tell their beloved community. Listening to Williams’ thought-provoking lyrics, alongside York and Farro’s musical genius, is proof of how much the band has progressed in six years.