A Review of Paramore’s ‘This Is Why’

It goes without saying that this album has had plenty of time to stew in listeners’ ears, considering it was released this past winter. Still, the timing doesn’t feel all that off as the North American tour is about to get underway and the vibes and sounds of This Is Why have simmered without making any hastily written reviews.

With Paramore’s last album, After Laughter, receiving a tidal wave of positive reviews, some may say the band had big shoes to fill in its follow-up.  If you ask the band, I don’t think they cared about how the opinions measured up as they took a relaxed approach to their latest endeavor, which does sound noticeably different.

Anytime a long-standing band can alter their sound and remain successful, that is something noteworthy, which is exactly what has occurred on This Is Why.  All that aside, how does this album sound?

The first four songs can be scrapped.  I’m sure the title track on the album, which was also the first single released off of it, is a fun tune live.  On the album, however, it’s one I’d rather bypass to get to something more cohesive, more fluid.  The next track is ‘The News’, which begins with a shrill chanting, “War! A War! A War!”  Anytime a word is repeated so immediately, it feels like audible repellant.  It’s just a sound I’d rather not revisit. Ever.

The third track on the list is ‘Running Out of Time’ and also became the latest music video from the album. That is certainly curious as the song feels very average.  The fourth track, ‘C’est Come Ca’, delivers with an obnoxious introduction and rapidly repeats the song’s title far too often in the song.  This is the nails-on-a-chalkboard track found on This Is Why, something I have never encountered on the band’s previous recording efforts.

Despite the introductory negatives, the rest of the album remains fruitful.  Track five, ‘Big Man, Little Dignity’ has a upbeat rhythm that feels like a jab at former President Donald Trump.  Whether that’s the case or not, it’s a highlight of the album.

The next song on the album is arguably the greatest one of the bunch.  ‘You First’ is an adrenaline-driven banger of a tune with the brilliant lyrics, “…turns out I’m living in a world of film where I’m both the killer and the final girl, so who, who are you?”  This has by far garnered the most replays of any track on the album from me.

Toning things down a bit from there is the sole ballad on the album, Liar.  There is almost something hypnotic about Hayley Williams’ vocals on this song.  Sure, there’s probably some bit of technical assistance in the studio to her already strong voice here, but she is like a Siren of mythology with her thoughtful and emotionally-performed lyrics here.

Next is ‘Crave’, opening with what may be described as the best start to any song on This Is Why.  The song carries a mellow vibe up to its chorus when Hayley exclaims the song’s title, providing for a welcomed jolt that combines that shot of energy to what feels like an already enjoyable casual ride with the top down.

Lastly is ‘Thick Skull’.  One can even debate ‘Liar’ not being the only ballad, stating a case for ‘Thick Skull’.  The latter has such aggressive strikes within the guitar, vocals, and drums though, that the song makes its own case of finding a niche between the power ballad and something sharper in statement and pace.

So, there you have it.  One writer’s take on Paramore’s 2023 release, This Is Why.  Overall it’s pretty good, not great.  For a band that has experienced a well-publicized bout of trials and tribulations over its time, we never know when an album from Paramore may be its last.  Enjoy it as you may because we never know what’s next from this three-piece powerhouse.


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