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Paramore returns with familiar punk vibes on ‘This is Why’

Graphic by Sarah Irwin

Punk is a music genre that has gotten some criticism over the years. It’s usually associated with edgy teenagers trying their best to stick it to the world and show how little they care about everything. 

However, I think that punk has proven itself to be more than those assumptions, especially with the release of Paramore’s latest album “This Is Why.” 

“This Is Why” includes the punk vibes that Paramore is known for that you might recognize  from songs like “Misery Business” or “Ain’t It Fun.” The band’s 2017 album, “After Laughter,” was the first sign of the music starting to deviate from its earlier punk influences. The band hasn’t completely returned to its original sound with this new record, but there are definitely more traces of it.

For their latest release, Paramore combined its punk sound with alt-rock influences to create an effective, concise and catchy 10 tracks. The title track opens the album with a bang, having an earworm of a chorus and one of the best bridges that I’ve heard in a while. It’s followed by “The News,” another bold, energetic song where lead singer Hayley Williams talks about how the news has caused some of her depressive tendencies.

Lyrically, the album considers the causes – both external and internal – of Williams’ darker thoughts. “Running Out Of Time” explores how she never seems to have enough time to get anything done and thinks she’s just being lazy, chiding herself for trying to pin the blame on something abstract. 

One of my favorites, “Big Man, Little Dignity,” explores an external negative influence that the singer-songwriter comes to realize is massively egotistical and doesn’t have her best interest in mind. 

Besides being packed with memorable songs, “This is Why” is also incredibly relatable in the emotions it displays and develops. Williams dives deeply into her mind with the album’s content, especially toward the end. With the second to last track, “Crave,” she laments how she seems to yearn for the negative times because they are the only points during which she has ever felt anything. 

“Thick Skull” closes the album on a sour note as Williams suggests that the cause of all of her problems is her thick skull. She also explains how she constantly seems to be attracted to fixing broken pieces regardless of the consequences. Despite the song’s melancholy tone, it carries a profound sense of introspection and uncertainty about the future.

Paramore consistently brings well-written, emotional records throughout the entirety of “This is Why.” Some fans may complain that it doesn’t sound enough like their past music, but I’m fine with that. I have a bias toward the more alternative sound the band brings to this new offering compared to some of their original releases. I recommend this album to Paramore fans or anyone who enjoys alternative music.

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