Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Paramore dance away the stress of modern living on This Is Why

"This Is Why"

Release date: 10 February 2023
Paramore this is why art
10 February 2023, 00:00 Written by Steven Loftin

Paramore are sick of your shit.

Well, more tellingly, they’re sick of the 21st century’s shit. With the comeback single “This Is Why”, Hayley Williams’ agoraphobic declaration of “this is why I don’t leave the house” perfectly tees up the ensuing picking-apart of modern life, and just why it’s all a bit rubbish.

Essentially bottling up the anxieties and performative actions of the ‘20s and funnelling them through relatable and pointed examples (ditching out on plans under the guise of existential dread on “Running Out Of Time”, anyone?) it’s rooted in the stability of the band. The bittersweet irony comes in the uncovered foibles they, particularly Williams’, lust after once the silence hits, most pointedly on “C’est Comme Ça” – “I hate to admit that getting better is boring”. It’s a pertinent observation that, if you’ve ever had the same realisation, feels like a soak in a warm bath – comforting and a space you never want to leave.

Since their soaring pop-punk/emo days, Paramore’s evolution into mature, indie boppers has felt seamless. From the charged and explosive sounds of 2007’s Riot!, to 2013’s self-titled’s effervescent indie, through to 2017’s After Laughter's self-effacing fizzing pop, each piece has fit together like an ever-expanding jigsaw, branching out to bring a true picture of Paramore, who, in 2023, are a vastly different yet wonderfully confident band that have overcome forced-change, stressors, and strife to great capitalisation – even as the world retraces the steps they set out over a decade ago. A lot can happen in six years it would seem.

Yet, the frantic energy of “The News” replicating our anxiety-ridden world reminds us of those roots that run so deep. “Figure 8” retains some of this bite after looping cries of “I don’t know how to stop”. Meanwhile, “C’est Comme Ça”’s post-punk listicle delivery (“In a single year I’ve aged 100 / my entire life one chiropractic appointment,”) into ludicrously catchy, repetitive titular calls fits squarely into the landscape that’s burgeoned since After Laughter but holds the Paramore sheen high.

“You First” resides in the nature that, yeah, maybe we aren’t all perfect, but fuck it, you’re worse so your downfall should come first. A brilliantly honest reflection of self (“I never said I wasn’t petty”) which exists throughout Paramore’s catalogue, yet in a society that rewards virtue-signalling with likes and retweets it's a refreshing take that faces these moral infractions head on.

It is an overall cohesive and grand statement of an album which opens with familiar sounds, and explores jutting, pointed off-shoots, before crescendoing with “Thick Skull”’s cataclysmic pop, all the while holding a relative level of self-involvement and privilege. The duality of an outward voyeurism of the world's strife (watching war-torn countries online and donating) while romanticising inward battles is the general blueprint of This Is Why. It pertains to the inner turmoil that 21st-century living brings, without admonishment, and with full hands-in-the-air fun, whilst finding the whole thing a bit irksome. Acknowledging her pettiness multiple times throughout, Williams is also on top form with a dagger-sharp lyricism that often paints a picture worth a thousand-and-one words (“It’s like a horror film / I’m both the killer / and the final girl”).

Like all good jangling indie bops, beneath the fluctuations of chipper notes swims a dark underbelly, and This Is Why relishes in this fact. It’s a freeing exercise in being able to dance away the stress and even embrace the romantic side of life throughout it all (“Liar”), which, in a world, hell-bent on eating itself is certainly needed. And more importantly, this is why we need Paramore more than ever.

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