“This Is Why” - Paramore Album Review

Story posted February 15, 2023 in CommRadio, Arts & Entertainment by Evan Smith

It’s been over five years since the Hayley Williams led group Paramore last released an album and after returning from their hiatus, the band has released their first album containing the same lineup as the one previous to it.

“This Is Why” confirms the sound from 2017’s “After Laughter” is where the band intends to stay moving forward, albeit swapping out some of their prior works programmed music for guitar and live instrument leads.

Paramore’s longtime producer Carlos De La Garza returns to the album having overseen the group's gradual shift from pop punk to new wave rock. De La Garza also worked with Williams during her solo run during the band’s hiatus. He keeps the muted production consistent throughout “This Is Why”

The newest release sounds like a mellowed out maturation of Paramore’s vision, melding an eighties style rock sound with new wave slick tones. However, the substance of the songs in hand leave much to be desired.

The lead single and title track off “This Is Why” starts the album off hot, with a synthetic vibe more reminiscent of the band’s previous work than the rest of the track list. Williams targets her pointed lyrics to Internet trolls and critics. The chorus is an upbeat dance tune that would fit on their 2013 self-titled album. As this record goes on, this energy fades. 

The second single, “The News” fights back against the misery of 24-hour news and the negativity behind it. The track bridges the gap in sound between the lead single and the rest of the album.

Williams sings themes of trading in the teenage angst of pop punk music for an older apprehension, which is clear on the later single “C’est Comme Ça,” a sarcastic cut about growth and retrospection.

The tracks left to be released with the complete work continue the trend of millennial misfortune, shown immediately on the pushed single “Running Out Of Time.” Williams sings of life moving too fast as well as her own laziness, contemplating whether to blame herself or others for faults. Her booming vocals are masked in the production, leading to a lackluster performance on the track. Even her screams on the track come off flat.

That issue persists on songs such as “Figure 8” and “Liar” where the vocals and instrumentation sound like they’re being shrink wrapped and under-saturated. While it doesn’t inherently make the performance bad, it is a misuse of the performance put in by Williams and the band.

The album also doesn’t feel like a complete work given the amount of time spent between the prior album and this outing. Even with a 36 minute runtime, some tracks feel like unsubstantial filler songs. The songs drag on lacking creativity in the music and depth in the lyrics.

“This Is Why” is a disappointing comeback for Paramore, hampered by its depth and mismatched production. While the album is not bad by any means, nothing stands out to make the outing memorable.

Rating: 5/10

Author’s Favorite Songs: “Crave,” “This Is Why,” “You First”

Author’s Least Favorite Songs: “Thick Skull,” “The News”

Evan Smith is a second year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email ers5828@psu.edu.