After a 5 year hiatus, the lead singer of Paramore, Hayley Williams, began to drop hints online that the band would be returning to the music scene. Their previous 2017 album, After Laughter, ventured into the genre of synth-pop, contrasting with the band’s other albums, which were all rock. After their tours for After Laughter, Paramore announced they would be taking a break due to their mental health and the exhaustion from the hard work of  putting together an album and completing global tours. During Paramore’s break, the members were still releasing music separately. Williams unveiled a pair of albums with a slower tempo in the midst of the pandemic, and drummer Zac Farro released a song in 2021 as a part of his project, HalfNoise. 

          The first two singles, “This is Why,” and “The News” were released in the fall of 2022, and the third, “C’est Comme Ca,” in January 2023. The rest of the album, This is Why, launched on February 10, 2023 and is more or less a reflection of the pandemic. The album is a cross between all of Paramore’s previous ones, a mix of rock and pop. Williams commented in a Rolling Stone interview the band wanted to put “more emphasis back on the guitar” within the album. Starting off, the album’s title track “This is Why” was not overly impressive. The lyrics and repetition of ‘this is why’ are extremely catchy, however there is nothing extraordinary about the song. In an interview with Billboard after the song’s release, Williams gave what could be an extremely relatable explanation in terms of the lack of creativity: “To be honest, I was so tired of writing lyrics.” While “This is Why” was the first song released, it was the last to be written and produced. 

          According to Billboard, the number one song on This is Why is understandably “Liar,” one of the ballads on the record. Straying from the album’s theme of the pandemic, “Liar” is instead a love song written for guitarist Taylor York, who officially joined Paramore in 2009. While “Liar” has a seemingly high 150 beats per minute, it does not have an affect on the slow feeling of the track. The soft sound of the song nicely compliments and highlights Williams’ range, arguably becoming one of the best ballads released by Paramore throughout their 19 year career.

          Down to my personal favorite, “You First.” In this song, Paramore ventures into the alternative sound, sounding like a blend of the synth-pop, After Laughter, and their early 2000’s rock albums. The lyrics for “You First” really let the listeners envision the internal conflict of whether to be portrayed in a glorious or atrocious light, or perhaps a mixture of both. As Williams put it: “There is a sense of internal tension, a dichotomy of being both hero and villain.” This dichotomy is seen within the verses, “Turns out I’m livin’ in a horror film/Whеre I’m both the killer and the final girl/So who, who are you?” where Williams compares herself to both a wild animal and a horror film character. The talent of all three members is very prevalent on this track, between Farro’s steady drums, York’s subtle guitar riffs, and Williams’ strong-as-ever vocals.

          Overall, there is not a bad song on the album and whether This is Why is in your usual genre or not, you should check it out!