Review By Shannon Daly
Paramore dropped their first single in five years since 2017’s After Laughter on Wednesday, September 28, 2022, along with a music video and their sixth album announcement. The studio album of the same name is set to be released on February 10th of next year.
“This is Why” is divergent from their earlier pop-punk style, but returns to some authentic After Laughter Paramore riffs and patterns. There is a heavy presence of drums on the song, which mixes with a synth-pop chorus to make an interesting combination of styles. Hayley Williams, the female singer for the band, returns to her higher, soft range that took hold in After Laughter, especially in songs such as “Forgiveness” and “Fake Happy.” She does not dive into her usual belting chorus style, instead, taking a pop-style approach to the chorus.
The journey of the song happens in four stages: The first few measures border on a surfer-rock influence, with quick electric guitar riffs and distant cymbals. It then moves into a typical indie-pop verse, with soft singing from Williams. The chorus then charges into a pop, borderline funk beat, with short fragments of lyrics to groovy guitar basslines. The fourth stage, the bridge, is a perfect stew of all of the elements of the song before it, with heavy reverb to create that dreamy effect indie-pop listeners know all too well.
As for the lyrics, Parmore admitted in the press release for the song that this was the last song written for the album, after almost reaching lyrical burnout. The lyrics definitely shadow this, as the chorus especially seems very surface-level for Paramore standards. There is definitely less depth in favor of a revenge type call-out song.
The song makes it hard to determine the direction of the album. With so many punk or originally alternative rock bands turning pop, fans are desperate for bands like Paramore to return to their roots. Haley Williams dying her hair back to her original red color gave a lot of fans hope, but fans have mixed reviews over the release. Original fans who were dying for the original punk sound seem disappointed with the release, while After Laugher fans seem to be enjoying the song so far. The song is best characterized by an article by Quinn Moreland of Pitchfork, calling it a “shift away from its predecessor’s bright gloss for something muddier and vaguely threatening.”
Personally, I do not think this song is anywhere near Paramore’s best. As a fan of both their older and newer stuff, I think the song is sort of lazy. I have hope for the rest of the album, but typically the first release of an album does indicate what the band wants the fans to expect. As for now, I do not think this will be the Paramore-mega return that I and all other Paramore fans were expecting, but I will not give up on the album just yet. It is an interesting choice to release the song the band stated as their “last effort” song as the main single, but perhaps Paramore has some tricks up their sleeve.