Released February 10, 2023 via Atlantic Records
Reviewed March 9, 2023
Top tracks (based on community voting)
Thick Skull (44%), The News (40%), This Is Why (40%)
With their first album since 2017’s After Laughter, we find Paramore once again adopting a new sound and making it work. For almost anyone who was a teenager or pre-teen in the mid-to-late 2000s, Paramore will always be a band worth noting when reminiscing on the times of our lives that were both the best of times and the worst (and probably most embarrassing) times. And while many of their contemporaries and fellow Warped Tour staple-acts have fizzled out, remained stagnant, or completely broken up, Paramore have continually evolved and found success.
This Is Why finds Paramore in a unique position, as it is their first album to feature the same lineup as their previous release. And despite it being six years since After Laughter, the trio of Hayley Williams, Zac Farro, and Taylor York haven’t lost an ounce of chemistry.
Since their beginnings, Paramore have all too often been misattributed as a “Hayley Williams and co.” act. It’s been a point of criticism and played a part in at least two of the band’s lineup changes over the years. But with York (production and additional instrumentation) and Farro (drums on two tracks) both providing contributions on Williams’ first solo outing—2020’s Petal For Armor—and bringing their A-game on This Is Why, there’s no reason we should still be throwing this around. The proof is right there; Paramore are a unit, and they might have just come into full form on their newest record..
This Is Why is no less anthemic than Paramore has always been, but it sees them with a surprisingly sharp, guitar-driven sound indebted to post-punk. The bass is dark and intoxicating, while York’s guitar playing is raw, jagged, and even a tad math-y at times. And Zac Farro is at his best on the drums with an impressive level of control that balances explosiveness with restraint and start-stop dynamics. Relentless but contained, these are the most varied set of instrumentals on any Paramore record yet.
And of course, Hayley Williams is never one to disappoint as a vocalist. Depending on the mood of each track, Williams’ singing goes from soft and elegant to assertive, demanding, and blunt. The lyrics are largely straightforward, varying from more wide-ranging social commentary (e.g. “The News”) to a more tender back-end that reaches its peak moments of introspection on “Liar.”
In a way, This Is Why features the same angst that an early Paramore record would. But this isn’t the same Paramore we grew up with; they’ve matured and we’re now seeing that angst take shape in the harsh realities and tough journeys of self-discovery. And damn, does it sound good. – Dominick (8.8/10)
Pablo: 9/10 | Dominick: 8.8/10 | DeVán: 7.5/10 | Alan: 7/10 | Jared: 7/10 | Victoria: 7/10
Paramore make their long awaited comeback after five years with an incredible record. The tunes here are catchy, heavy at points, and come alongside some of the band's best lyricism. – @paralyzedvampyre (9.5/10)