By: Grace Koennecke, Columns Editor
Atlantic Recording Company; 2022
It’s been a while since Paramore has released new music – not surprising for a band that is infamous for taking intentional hiatuses in order to experiment and further strengthen their sound. Five years since the debut of their fifth studio album, “After Laughter“, the band is back with a new single, “This Is Why.”
“This Is Why” feels like you’re being transported into the 1970s, with a bass guitar and steady and funky drum beat taking up the first 30 seconds of the track. As soon as Hayley Williams, the lead vocalist of Paramore, explodes into the forefront, the opening lyric, “If you have an opinion / Maybe you shove it / Or maybe you could scream it / Might be best to keep it / To yourself” sets the tone for what’s to come for the rest of the song.
While the lyrics are cunning and grab your attention, the main star of the show is the chorus. Williams is practically screaming at listeners, layering the vocals to match her high falsetto with the growl of her lower register. The chorus then morphs into a chant where the band is laying out all the reasons why they prefer living in the shadows.
“This is why I don’t leave the house / You say the coast is clear / But you won’t catch me out / Oh, why? / This is why” also contains an anger potentially targeted towards the current and past political climate Paramore has actively been a part of, making it a significant lead single as part of their upcoming sixth album.
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Sadly, the song’s content is repetitive, with Williams singing the same lines over and over. Maybe it’s to emphasize the political undertone of “This Is Why,” but honestly could’ve been replaced with different lyrics or a better segway into the bridge, which comes to listeners abruptly.
Even though the bridge seems to be misplaced in the song, it rivals the chorus in its stickiness. Similar sounding to Williams’ solo project, “Dead Horse,” she integrates the same style of instrumentation and vocal isolation to create the climax back into the chorus, breathing life into the track.
Overall, “This Is Why” is definitely not Paramore’s best lead single, as “Hard Times” from 2017’s “After Laughter” and “Ain’t it Fun” from their self-titled 2014 album are iconic and far better built, but this track sets a tone that implies the band has been taking note of society’s changes throughout the last five years.
Listen to “This Is Why” here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIYJ7VaSxYY