Album Review // Paramore // This is Why
It's been six years since After Laughter — the album that twisted Paramore's signature brand of pop-punk into colorful '80s art rock — and after two experimental solo albums from frontwoman Hayley Williams, no one could be sure what to expect from the band's sixth studio album, This is Why. If the lead single and title track were to be believed, the record was likely to continue down a similar path, and yet, after years of a global pandemic, hearing "This is why I don't leave the house" shouted by the band members in tandem had a darker feel to it. If After Laughter is Paramore's sunny pop record, This is Why would be the album bridging the band's transformation in sound.
The best example of this is the second single "The News," an angry and evergreen song built on jagged guitars with one of the album's most aggressively catchy choruses. Elsewhere, album closer "Thick Skull" is influenced by the notable space-rock band Thick Skull, but it's not all dark and stormy. The album's standout track, "Big Man, Little Dignity," flirts with the atmosphere of classic Fleetwood Mac, highlighting Williams' gorgeous vocals. While these moments are spaced across the record, leaving room for the subdued songwriting of her solo work, This is Why is likely to reward patient listeners as Paramore's best work yet.