Paramore’s This Is Why is the band’s latest release since their 2017 album After Laughter. The release of After Laughter marked a change of style and a new phase in the band’s artistry. Paramore has experimented with a wide variety of sounds, but at its core their music is still Paramore and maintains their touch.
Tracks “This Is Why,” “The News” and “C’est Comme Ça” were released as singles in preparation for the album’s release.
The first single, “This Is Why,” caused a stir on the Internet after its release as many began to question the band’s new direction. Many already created expectations and were hoping for something similar to Paramore’s Riot! sound.
This Is Why marks a continuation in the band’s evolution since After Laughter. The album feels like a concrete solidification of the band’s new sound while still maintaining their same beloved character as before.
This is Why
As the titular song of the album, “This Is Why” was the first single to give a taste for the upcoming album. The song serves as the album’s opener explaining exactly what “this is why” is referring to.
“This Is Why” is an agoraphobic anthem that provides commentary on the state of the world, the polarization of politics and the ever-rising tension between our fellow humans. One of the key elements of the album is reflection: something we had to face during the isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic. “This Is Why” conveys what it was like to watch the nation’s political landscape in the face of a pandemic through a groovy rhythm and compelling guitar riff that’ll keep you bobbing your head.
There was no better follow-up song to the album’s opener than “The News.” The song explores similar themes with an explosive nature matching the album’s opening track.
“The News” contemplates the 24-hour news cycle and its effects, especially in combination with social media use. What makes “The News” different is its exploration of helplessness in the face of social issues and doom scrolling. While “This Is Why” is unwilling to deal with the outside world, “The News” oscillates back and forth between detachment and overinvolvement.
This seesaw becomes apparent within the first and second verses, as they each detail an attempt to level with these feelings.
Running Out of Time
“Running Out of Time” details the constant, never-ending battle between humans and the passage of time. The song’s lyrics speak woefully of all the extra things the narrator wants to do in a day but finds themselves unable to do. They question whether they’re truly running out of time or if they’re just making excuses to shrug off their guilt and regrets.
The slow escalation in the vocals of every pre-chorus into a small shriek for the chorus transition not only scratches the brain just right, but it models the building frustration. The bridge is much more slow and relaxed in comparison to the previous verses and pre-choruses, recreating the feeling of not being in a rush for once. The final chorus makes it feel like a draining cycle has finally come to an end.
C’est Comme Ça
Released as a single, “C’est Comme Ça” catches your attention from start to finish. The percussive intro and its charismatic, accompanying guitar, manages to get your blood pumping.
It’s just the perfect song to jump and sing along to in the pit of a Paramore concert. The French phrase essentially translates to, “It is what it is,” which denotes a sense of resignation to one’s situation.
The chorus leads into a dizzying and careless attitude before the monotone delivery of the first verse opens up the inner turbulence lurking underneath. It delivers a blow, capturing the inner battle of trying to better your mental health while also missing the familiar chaos you’ve grown so accustomed to. The bridge echoes similar sentiments, boldly admitting “getting better is boring.”
Big Man, Little Dignity
How do you even begin to put into words a song as impactful as this one? The opening instrumental is dreary and carries a feeling of dread to kickstart the song. While the lyrics at first seem to echo a type of romantic affection, we soon find out that isn’t the case at all. The lyrics describe with contempt the figure of a smooth man never held accountable for his actions.
The contrast between the calmness of “Big Man, Little Dignity” to the scratchy vocals ring out so clearly the emotional vitriol of watching something as infuriating as this happen. The bridge expands on this idea more in a resigned and passive manner because they know they can’t do anything but sit by and watch.
The foreboding guitar riff that starts off “You First” sets the tone of the song’s nature perfectly. The lyrics discuss the conflicting sides of growing from your bad habits and your mistakes. The chorus expresses a sort of acceptance of the narrator’s past, because although they know they’ve done wrong and will face their own consequences, there is someone they view as a greater evil they wish to face their karma first.
It also must not be forgotten that “You First” delivers one of the album’s most show-stopping lyrics: “Turns out, I’m living in a horror film / Where I’m both the killer and the final girl.”
This track uses the imagery of a figure-8: a continuous figure that bleeds into itself endlessly. It explores the dynamic behind being your own undoing while being unsure how to fix it, thus continuing on without end.
The verses are laced with a bitter and heavy delivery, reflecting on the narrator’s character and their past. What makes each pre-chorus so compelling is the intensity that mimics the racket of inner turmoil filling your head. The chorus follows then muses over the decisions the narrator made while expressing disappointment.
“Figure 8” invokes a sense of self-awareness. The final chorus suggests a clear loss of self, or an inability to discern yourself from the aftermath of your choice. It’s an uncanny idea as it forces you to ponder the feeling of emptiness when lost in the mess of yourself, and the song asks you to wallow in this during the closing instrumental.
“Liar” is one of the most soothing, heart-touching tracks of the album—it’s liquid, smooth and subtle while vulnerable with its strong and honest heart. The track’s quiet nature puts you at ease, and its gentleness makes it that much more impactful. The lyrics detail the admittance of a love long hidden out of fear, but slowly learning how to release that.
The song is soft and sweet, and the bridge is one of its most beautiful moments. The cadence of the lyrics feels like the tumbling of waves, imitating the sensation of being washed over by your emotions.
If you’re the type of person who reminisces nonstop, then the themes of “Crave” might be all too familiar for you. Put so poignantly within its lyrics, the song paints a picture of not being present in the current moment, but instead imagining through the lens of a future memory.
The song’s start is dreamy and comforting, and feels like the glowing color of orange sunlight. Each chorus is so passionate and full of love and care towards life and the memories just waiting to be made.
The second verse expands on how this romanticization isn’t always a good thing. I think one of the most touching moments of this song is the bridge because it feels like a rush leaves you stunned, especially when you’re viewing yourself in relation to your memories and the past.
If you wanted to know how to close an album perfectly, look no further than “Thick Skull.” The song begins with a slow and quiet embrace as Williams showcases her lower register in the song’s devastating lyrics. It’s not until the chorus ends when the tempo picks up that the intensity levels begin to rise.
The lyrics are a little unsettling as it presents the idea of buried bodies and a “body count,” but this eerie nature is what makes them stand out. The bridge and the final chorus truly steal the spotlight as they wow you with their passion and ferocity. The song exemplifies how to create a beautiful and impactful climax that will sweep away its listeners with the emotion of its lyrics and with Williams’ vocals.
This is exactly how you close an album and leave your audience grappling for air as they are left stunned with what they have just listened to.