Paramore draws on internal and external conflicts in ‘This is Why’

Paramore just released a new album last Friday and to say it is relatable is an understatement. Hayley Williams, the lead singer of the band, has managed to create a plethora of songs that perfectly capture the anxiety of existing in this day and age. With ten songs, you will find your anxiety troubles being commented on, providing a sense of security as Williams understands the struggle.

Starting off the album is a song with its namesake, “This is Why.” Williams starts the song off with an attention grabber as she sings in a sopranic, lilted voice telling people how to best share their opinions — if at all. Williams expresses her disdain for going out into society throughout the song because of the judgements and expectations of those around her.

Next is the song “The News.” She uses the mirroring of war in the world with war in her mind excellently. Williams’ repeated lines, “Every second our collective heart breaks / All together every single head shakes / Shut your eyes but it won’t go away” truly expresses how people can feel useless as they watch horrible things happening on the news.

The album cover features singer and pianist Hayley Williams, drummer Zac Farro and guitarist Taylor York. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Following “The News” is the song “Running Out of Time.” College students can understand this one, as the top struggle with handling homework is not having enough time for everything. Social obligations demand every second and Williams sheds light on this hassle. A part I personally found relatable was, “Never mind, I hit the snooze on my alarm twenty times / But I was just so tired.” I’m sure you can relate too, especially those of you who follow similar habits of staying up through the dead of night trying to get that last assignment finished.

Up next is “C’est Comme Ça.” A translation of the title is “that’s just the way it is,” which seems to sum up how life works. Williams focuses on the need for instability in life in order to know she is living. One line that called out to me was, “I know that regression is rarely rewarded / I still need a certain degree of disorder.” The content of the lyrics as well as the way she shouts it out really expresses the idea that life itself is just a mess.

Then there is the song “You First” which could potentially throw listeners into an existential crisis as they question whether or not they are a good person. Williams is going for everyone’s throats as she sings, “Everyone is a bad guy / And there’s no way to, no way to know who’s the worst / Karma’s gonna come for all of us.” It brings up the age-old question of what “good” means to different people and if there is such a thing as a good person.

“Figure 8” calls into mind the idea of changing yourself for other people and the confusion that follows. This connects to the stressors of social obligations and maintaining approval from others that Williams has discussed in previous songs. Some people will change their entire identity in order to appease the interests of another until they are left “spinning in an endless figure 8.”

Up next, I wanted to mention “Crave,” which not only brings us back to an upbeat feeling but also expresses an extremely relatable idea of nostalgia. Williams sings about the desire to remain in the “present” and clinging onto the memories currently being made as she progresses in her life.

Finally, the album closes with the song “Thick Skull.” This song is even slower than “Liar.” Williams comments that she is not a perfect person and she repeats this notion that she knows she makes mistakes yet doesn’t listen to the solutions. A truly emotional line she sings is, “I am a magnet for broken pieces / I am attracted to broken people.”

Overall, this album had a lot to say about introspection and social anxiety. A lot of the content on this album reminded me of Bo Burnham’s “Inside.” Hopefully the release of this album means a new upcoming tour by the band. If so, I’ll have to try to score a ticket.


4/5 Stars

Featured image courtesy of Sven Sebastian Sajak, Openverse