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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Review: Paramore’s ‘This Is Why’

Photo by Ralph PH/Wikicommons

Rating: 8/10

After nearly six years of stark silence from everyone’s favorite 2000s pop punk band, Paramore has made their triumphant return with “This Is Why” (2023). 

Released on Friday, Feb. 10, “This Is Why” is the band’s sixth studio album, following their explosive experimentation with ‘80s pop rock on “After Laughter” (2017). While the latter was a vibrant and upbeat exploration of new territory, “This Is Why” returns to the band’s rock roots, dripping with the fury of artists that have outgrown teen angst, and experienced the heartbreaks of adult life. 

“This Is Why,” in its simplest form, is a steaming product of saturated anger and low-level anxiety. Tinged with a general indignance and full of razor-sharp resentment, the album explores anger across various levels, from the frustration of failed relationships to dissatisfaction with modern-day politics. 

Starting from the very beginning, the album’s title track and lead single, “This Is Why,” perfectly introduces the fiery themes of retrospective rage and constant paranoia that are scattered throughout the entire album. Through the combination of an addictive drum beat and blunt lyricism, such as the song’s opening line, “If you have an opinion, maybe you should shove it,” “This Is Why” not only acts as a stellar introduction to the album, but also as a hopelessly catchy lead single. 

Next, the tracks “You First” and “Thick Skull” produce some of the strongest songwriting seen on the entire album. “You First,” which is a scathing ode to karmic retribution with a “you’ll get what’s coming to you” attitude, is impressively introspective, fully embracing a bitterness that many of us try to suppress. With lyrics such as “Turns out, I’m living in a horror film where I’m both the killer and the final girl” and “Just like a stray animal, I keep feeding scraps,” “You First” welcomes pettiness with open arms, unapologetically expressing what many of  us are truly thinking: that we do not actually “wish the best” for those who have wronged us, regardless of what we might say.  

“Thick Skull,” the album’s final track, is a stunning expression of constant self-blame, insecurity and the pain of public scrutiny. In an interview with The Line of Best Fit, frontwoman Hayley Williams described the track as a “reflection of [her] biggest insecurities throughout [the band’s] career.” 

“I decided to speak directly to those fears, even indulging the naysayers,” Williams said, describing “Thick Skull” in the interview. “This being the last album of this era of our career as a part of the same contract I signed as a teen, I just want to leave all those fears and bullshit here. I’m not taking it with me any further.” 

This powerful nod to the band’s past, which is perfectly encapsulated through the lyric “Only I know where all the bodies are buried, thought by now I’d find ‘em a just a little less scary,” is a staggering expression of the dark side of fame, forcing listeners to consider that Williams has spent the better part of 34 years at the mercy of public opinion.

Overall, with the exception of “The News,” “C’est Comme Ça” and “Big Man, Little Dignity,” tracks that despite not being definitively bad, do not quite match the maturity of the rest of the album, “This Is Why” produces very few truly weak points. After this fascinating and raw step into the next phase of Paramore, it will be interesting to see what the band produces in the future — or if they wait another six years to release new music.

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