Paramore is back with new single "This is Why"
Punk pop emo legends Paramore have returned with a sleek, new variation of their signature song with their recently released single This Is Why. The band hasn't been shy about evolving their sound as times change, and even against many of their original fans' wishes, will not put out another Misery Business or Ignorance. Hayley is not scared of the sometimes ruthless and brutal criticism that a rock audience will throw at a female-fronted band with a pop-leaning sound.
It's been five years since their last release, After Laughter, which was a lot more vibrant, cheerful, and commercial than some expected. While some fans loved it, some fans preferred old Paramore. Without a doubt though, This is Why can cross the threshold and please both sides of their fanbase. Another significant difference between this project and the last one is the return of the original lineup - the current Paramore consists of Hayley Williams, Taylor York, and Zac Farro.
The song draws from post-punk influences, with a bit of early 2000s art-rock thrown in there. I would say this is a significant improvement compared to After Laughter's lead single, Hard Times. A chorus like "This is why I don't leave the house" speaks to the post-pandemic culture and is a bravely relatable catchy chorus.
'This is Why' reminds me of both Radiohead and Franz Ferdinand, mixed with the signature Paramore sound many of us expect from the trio. It's not a far stretch in terms of relatability, with the song's content focusing on strangers' judgments against the singer and wanting to run home and never leave the house again. Paramore has made an anthem for that ever-prevalent feeling.
Hayley Williams's vocals deliver a smooth, post-2020 style verse. The early pop punk, emo roar Paramore that exploded in the music scene around 2008 seems to have dissolved from their current sound. Instead, it's been replaced with the Billie Ellish-styled, mellow, and downplayed vocals featured on Williams's solo album, Petals for Armor, featuring electronic tracks like Simmer. Still, the chorus explodes in that classic Paramore way. with Hayley's banshee vocals and a thick wall of distorted funk-style riffs. It's danceable for sure, she sings lines like "Better have conviction 'Cause we want crimes of passion Survival of the fittest You're either with us or you can keep it." As the world has gotten darker, clearly Williams's mental state has as well. This is a far cry from After Laughter but maintains some of the similar playful percussion featured on their last album. However, with the return of drummer Zak Farrow, much of the hard-hitting rock percussion has returned too. This song is a post-punk earworm. This new track by Paramore is more timeless compared to their previous work. It could be a hit song in the early 2000s or 2010s just as much as it sounds authentically in the 2020s. It's refreshing to see the band return without compromise on their well-established sound. Even a major label rock band such as Paramore managed to take a creative risk with this track. Paramore might be one of the only rock bands that reach a large audience, maintaining its relevance in an increasingly post-genre world. They, along with other bands that emerged from the warped tour scene, have dragged rock's decaying corpse into the future by infusing multiple genres, taking risks, and breaking out of that traditional rock mold. Hayley Williams maintains her role as the Debbie Harry of the 2000s, evolving and 'selling out' while garnering authentic respect from rockers and average music listeners worldwide. (Listen to "This is Why" here)