tue 23/07/2024

Album: Paramore - This is Why | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Paramore - This is Why

Album: Paramore - This is Why

Superstar US band successfully expand their sound on their sparkling sixth

Squashed-faced Taylor York, Hayley Williams and Zac Farrow

I’ll admit it. When I first saw that noughties indie rockers Bloc Party would be supporting Grammy award-winning emo stars Paramore on their Spring stadium tour, it seemed like a perplexing choice. But, four minutes into hearing the return sounds from the Nashville natives and the crossover is palpable.

Former single "The News" is just as sharp as Kele Okereke’s helicopter blades when it comes to cutting up the indie dancefloor.

The record – which marks Paramore’s sixth album to date - builds on the sparkling pop of its predecessor. Not surprising given it’s the first to be made with the same line-up as the previous one. During their 18-year-long rule, there have been eight Paramore members and several high-drama exits – including founding members Zac Farro in 2010, alongside his brother Josh. 2017’s After Laughter marked a reconciliation between the original drummer with bandleader Hayley Wiliams and guitarist Taylor York (York has been a mainstay since 2007’s Riot!)

But while the last decade might’ve found the form of Paramore in flux, it’s nothing compared to the instability poor Mother Earth has been going through. This Is Why reflects on those huge moments, and movements, from the world fracturing under a pandemic to public protests around Black Lives Matter and women’s body autonomy (The band shared on Instagram last year that they would be donating a percentage of tour profits to abortion access charities).

In lighter moments, Williams’ quips turn continental in "C’est Comme Ca" expertly capturing the peppy New York new-wave scene (including a charming spoken word section a la Debbie Harry in chart-topping "Rapture"). "Crave" possesses the clarity of The Cure in its swirling, chorused guitars and gentle reflections. While  "Running Out Of Time’ is a rollicking tongue-in-cheek jab at our self-validating sense of righteousness. As Williams jokes: “Intentions only get you so far / What if I’m just a selfish prick?”

Epic closer, "Thick Skull", bows out by indulging in the snide comments of naysayers through the years. Because whatever preconceptions you might have about the nostalgic emo revival, Paramore have risen above the period to new plains. During the reign of pop punk, Hayley Wiliams stood as a flagrant exception to the white bro culture. Two decades on, and in their strongest guise to date, this is why.

Below: Watch an hour long Zane Lowe interview with Paramore

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