Paramore returned with a bang with their latest release, the studio album This Is Why.
This is Why is their sixth studio album, following their smash hit After Laughter in 2017 - a release that remains controversial among fans who long for a return to their earlier sound, but is widely considered a no-skip album by the band's die-hards.
Paramore feels like it's the most popular it’s ever been - as someone who hopped on the train around the time of Riot!’s release, the last time they felt this relevant was when they released Brand New Eyes, with ‘The Only Exception’ giving them widespread radio play on pop as well as rock and alt stations, and their music featured in popular film and TV like Twilight and Glee, which were, like it or lump it, everywhere at the time.
They may not be breaching the mainstream in the same way as they were in 2010, but they are making their way back there. Paramore songs of every era are trending on TikTok, and their upcoming 3 Arena gig in Dublin sold out almost instantly - for context, their pop punk contemporaries Fall Out Boy have only sold out one of their UK/EU nights so far (although they haven’t announced any Dublin dates, so perhaps it’s an unfair comparison). Pop punk nostalgia feels like it’s at its apex, and Paramore are riding that wave to its peak.
This is Why is probably still not the album the Riot! fiends were hoping for, but it excels at marrying Paramore’s two dominant sounds together - its has all of the energetic, upbeat groove of After Laughter while maintaining the heavier, drum and guitar dominant rock sound from their earlier work. Couple that with some truly amazing word play and Hayley Williams at her best, and you’ve got one of the standout albums of the year before we’re even three months in.
Standout tracks include singles like ‘The News’ and ‘C’est Comme Ça’, which are equal parts sarcastic, revelrous and absolute bops, but I implore you not to stick with the singles and call it a day. The album isn’t as long as some might expect, topping out at 10 tracks, but it’s filled with wall to wall bangers. ‘Big Man, Little Dignity’ and ‘Figure 8’ are both repeat songs since my initial listen, and I guarantee if you’ve ever enjoyed a Paramore song in your life you’ll find a new favourite in this track list.
For fans of pop punk, an album like this has felt like a long time coming - the lyrics are poetic and sardonic, William’s vocals are clear and smooth like water, and the instrumentation makes you want to break things and shake ass in equal measure. Fans lucky enough to get tickets for their April concert are certainly in for a fantastic night.