After nearly six long years, it finally happened. In this, the Year of Our Lord 2023, our saviors Taylor York, Hayley Williams and Zac Farro have returned. This Is Why is finally here, and not a moment too soon. I got the notification yesterday that my CD shipped and I couldn’t be more excited to put it in my disc drive and never take it out again. It feels precious to me, something that should truly be held onto and savored, even though it’s (almost) their shortest album yet. It clocks in at 12 seconds longer than their debut.
I had come into this album cycle thinking this would be the last Paramore project, but it seems they have more joie de vivre than ever. It feels like they’re just getting started. *Queues “Looking Up from Brand New Eyes* Funnily enough, their 2013 self-titled album that almost destroyed them will celebrate its 10 year anniversary in April. It’s fitting that they should release an album that completely flips the Paramore script and push themselves further from the young adults who could barely stand to be together at that point. A divorce, a lawsuit, and six solo albums between them since then, This Is Why is an incredibly strong body of work.
This album exudes so much confidence. It displays a band who is not only happy and comfortable with their career thus far, but happy with where they are personally. Every single shows a different side of the band, but it’s still cohesive. A group of people who can’t believe the society they’re living in, and a group of people who ache to make positive change. And really, every Paramore album has been like that to some degree, but here it’s front and center. No one can deny the intentions here – How can we be better people?
If I’m being honest, I haven’t listened to much of Zac Farro’s solo project HalfNoise, but the album definitely feels like a continuation of what Hayley did with her two solo albums. But I would be remiss if I didn’t remind you all that Zac and Taylor both worked extensively on Petals For Armor, so much so that I do consider them an extension of Paramore in the best way. Power of friendship, y’all. “Crystal Clear” from Petals is, after all, written first about Hayley’s grandparents’ love story, but also her budding relationship with Taylor. It’s also mentioned by name in new track “Liar”.
Is this already my album of the year? Yes, no one else stands a chance at this point. I’m half kidding. The title of best album was already given to them long before I even heard the first single, but I knew that it would live up to any and every expectation I could conjure in my mind. I texted Kiel and said “What if I don’t like it?”, and his response was just, “That would be a bummer.” Because he knows there’s no way I would be disappointed. Everything that Paramore does is gilded for me. They are the most influential band in my music taste, and as I’ve said before, Hayley has inspired so many of us gals in the scene to continue on and use our voices.
So yes, “This is why / I don’t leave the house”. But also, This Is Why Paramore is still a band. This Is Why Zac, Taylor, and Hayley are still making music. This Is Why is Paramore’s best album yet, simply because even at its most serious, it’s still a group of friends doing what they love.
by Nadia Alves
Nadia Alves has been a music enthusiast since she can remember. Going to shows is her main pastime. The other is being upset when she can’t go to shows. This is her first official venture into writing about music. You can follow her on Twitter.