Music, Arts

Paramore Shows its Age with New Album ‘This is Why’


Pop-punk band Paramore returned with its first album in six years with This Is Why on Feb. 10. Despite a powerful and upbeat start, This Is Why mellows out in the second half, making the album an overall disappointing experience in comparison to the high-energy music Paramore produced in the past. 

This Is Why feels like an album of two sounds. Paramore could have capitalized on the contrast between the quiet and loud songs on the album, but as it stands, This Is Why feels like an album that occasionally reaches the explosive highs of Paramore’s discography but fails to impress in the softer moments.

This Is Why instantly draws listeners in with the best song on the album—the title track, “This Is Why.”

“If you have an opinion maybe you shove it,” lead singer Hayley Williams softly sings before bursting into an explosive chorus. 

The chorus exclaims that the pressure of being the face of Paramore and the expectations thrust upon her by critics is why Williams doesn’t leave the house. 

The song is bold and energetic while simultaneously addressing Williams’ struggles. The next three songs on the album maintain the exciting sound set up by the title track. “The News,” “Running Out of Time,” and “C’est Comme Ça” are the types of songs that will stick around on playlists for a long time. 

But by the fifth track “Big Man, Little Dignity,” this upbeat energy is entirely abandoned. The entire song feels lethargic and even when it tries to liven things up in the chorus, it doesn’t come close to Paramore’s past pop-punk anthems. 

Williams can be so powerful and commanding in her music, but in the quieter moments on the album, it feels like she’s holding back. These songs don’t hit their emotional highs in the way they have the potential to, instead they just leave a little to be desired. Meanwhile, the entire time you’re hoping for another “This Is Why” to show up out of nowhere.

While Paramore’s comeback album was boring, it showed that a quieter and more chill sound is clearly the direction the band wants to move toward in the future. Listeners on Spotify were greeted with a video message from the band talking about the album. 

It’s unfortunate then that the part of the album that is most enjoyable is the part that reference’s Paramore’s original sound. The first four tracks feel like old Paramore, and it’s genuinely some of the band’s best material. This Is Why would have been more suited as a four-track EP, as the presence of the slow tracks at the end of the album ruins its pacing. 

From “Misery Business” to “Still Into You,” the music of Paramore provided fun anthems to sing along to. Songs like “This Is Why” and “The News” satisfy listeners’ itch on This Is Why, but the rest of the album fails to provide anything exciting.

With This Is Why, it seems like Paramore is growing up. While this effort didn’t strike the same chord as its old music, or as something new, it lays the groundwork for a much more subdued Paramore to come.

February 19, 2023