Paramore’s ‘This Is Why’ is a transformation of one’s pain into maturity

Photo courtesy of Zachary Gray

Nearly six years after their hiatus, pop-punk band Paramore made a comeback with the release of their sixth studio album “This Is Why” on Feb. 10 that is firmly entrenched in their punk roots.

“This Is Why” currently stands at number two on the Billboard 200 charts, earning the highest ranking debut award of the Billboard 200. 

Although the album transcends nostalgic emo revival, Paramore has elevated their music to new heights and enhanced their sound identity. The trio’s record reflects greater growth and maturity while retaining the eclectic, angry, punk atmosphere that most fans grew up with and adore.

Many fans are aware that the band’s lead singer, Hayley Williams, experienced a traumatic divorce in 2017 that led her to have severe panic attacks and eventually required hospitalization. However, this album reveals that she has subsequently healed from it.

 “This Is Why” serves as a compelling reminder of the need to continue moving forward and symbolizes Williams’ optimism, anxiety, change and growth.

Track seven, “Figure 8,” beautifully encapsulates the anxieties of being in a toxic relationship. 

[Cover for Paramore’s sixth studio album, “This Is Why.”]
Photo courtesy of Zachary Gray

Paramore opens “Figure 8” with a familiar-sounding repetitive guitar riff before breaking away into the chorus, “All for your sake / Became the very thing that I hate / I lost my way / Spinnin’ in an endless figure eight.”

The song depicts a person who transformed themselves into someone they dislike, for someone they love. Williams is upset that she altered who she was for someone else and let herself be manipulated into doing so.

“Figure 8” immediately affects the listener with its palpable anguish and fury. When listening to the song, the listener develops empathy for Williams’ suffering throughout her divorce as well as compassionate rage.

As the album goes on, “Thick Skull” acts as another reflection of Williams’ failed marriage. Williams admits to her own faults in the song, which serves as a representation of her past mistakes. 

While trying to form relationships with the wrong people, Williams thinks on how she is ultimately damaged by their actions. She indulges herself while struggling through lessons she has still not learned, as can be heard in the lyrics, “Same lesson again? Come on, give it to me.”

“This Is Why” is not just an album of resentment, it also encapsulates the growth she has found within love. 

During her divorce, Williams discovered her deep romantic feelings for longtime friend and bandmate, Taylor York. One of the songs describes Williams’ feelings as she was falling in love with York. 

Track nine, “Liar,” is about Williams’ battle with her emotions after falling in love since she believed she was wrong to feel those emotions.

The beautiful love song contains a soft and melancholy instrumental that leads into Williams’ powerful vocals. The chorus illustrates Williams’ realization that she never needed to lie about her feelings for York. 

“And, oh, my love, I lied to you / But I nevеr needed to.”

Through songs of anxieties, wrath, resentment, vengeance and maturation, “This Is Why” is a modern adaptation of Paramore’s old punk sound that depicts all of the feelings experienced in a traumatic breakup while also reflecting on the band’s personal growth. 

Despite Paramore’s long hiatus, “This Is Why” gives fans a sense of optimism about the band’s future and brings promise of many more nostalgic punk albums to come.

Leave a Reply