This is Why: Paramore’s Modern Revival of the Emo Music Scene

Hand holding vinyl record. Photo courtesy of Kobu Agency.

On Feb. 10, pop-rock band Paramore released their newest album  “This is Why,” breaking their six-year hiatus after producing their 2017 new wave pop record “After Laughter.”Featuring a rich instrumental sound along with the return of the iconic orange hair of lead singer Hayley Williams, the band’s latest record is a nostalgic ode to their early discography while also displaying their matured vocal and lyrical evolution.

Opening the album with an energetic lead single, Paramore unleashes a punk-rock melody about the chaotic voices and judgments swirling across the globe. Expressing how “This is why I don’t leave the house, you say the coast is clear but you won’t catch me out,” it captures the paradox between the insistent nature of society’s opinions and the passive fear of confronting these harsh realities. These striking themes are also evident in the second track “The News,” which explores the sensationalized battlefield created by global news and current events. These two powerhouse tracks produce a dynamic foundation for the overall record, which is further highlighted by the fiery visual production of their respective music videos.

Paramore introduces a more satirical and boisterous tone through their succeeding tracks such as “Running Out of Time.” During a recent interview with Genius, Williams mentioned how Dolly Parton, one of her musical inspirations, motivated the band to create the track. “I saw an interview with Dolly Parton, and she was like, ‘I hate it when people are late’...when I found out that was her biggest pet peeve, [I thought] we’re never gonna make it. Through the relatable imagery of snoozed alarm clocks, false excuses, and forgotten reminders, the track is definitely on its road to becoming a fan favorite. 

Meanwhile, “C’est Comme Ca” features a tumultuous spiral of existential dread, sandwiched between the recurring shrieks of a strategic French phrase that roughly translates to “that’s just the way it is.” As the shortest track of the album, its bizarre musical structure undoubtedly elicits a second, third, or tenth replay from avid fans.

Transitioning towards the heart of the album, the next three singles tranquilize listeners with the lyrical mastery of Paramore upon exploring their profound thoughts about heartbreak and toxic relationships. “Big Man, Little Dignity” showcases a somber narrative about a seemingly perfect romance obscured by excessive dependency, gaslighting, and unfaithfulness. On the other hand, “You First” details the soul-sucking nature of defying one’s morals to please a manipulative figure. Lastly, “Figure 8” expresses how individuals can easily become lost by surrendering their true selves to a destructive relationship.

Yet among the variety of captivating songs from the album, Paramore’s eighth track “Liar” immediately became my personal favorite. Highlighting a soft instrumental tone accompanied by Williams’ raw vocals, its chorus presents a lyrical masterpiece: “And, oh, my love, I lied to you, but I never needed to…Oh, my love, I lied to you, but you always knew the truth.” This heartfelt track is similar to the band’s former songs which always struck the deepest chord within their parent albums such as “26” from “After Laughter,” “Last Hope” from Paramore’s self-titled album, and “Misguided Ghosts” from “All We Know Is Falling.”

Eventually, the record concludes with two songs that edge toward the bittersweet acceptance of a painful past. The penultimate track “Crave” elaborates on the refusal to antagonize one’s self because of previous faults, as these experiences allow the meaningful appreciation of the present. Lastly, “Thick Skull” brings the album to full circle, as Paramore highlights the inevitable cycle of mistakes and delusions that everyone will experience throughout their lifetime, where they would find the strength to pick up their broken pieces every time.