Music Reviews
This Is Why

Paramore This Is Why

(Atlantic Records) Rating - 7/10

Due to their incredible success as emo stalwarts, Paramore gets equally praised and maligned for stepping away from their core sound. It's become something of a tired narrative for the Tennessee outfit, whose sudden pivots don't seem any different than any indie rock band alternating between guitar or synth-heavy musical detours. This time, the Hayley Williams-fronted project tap into the nostalgic sounds of early aughts post-punk revival for inspiration. Or at least, to an extent.

For the most part, Paramore competently emulates these sounds with delectable and infectious grooves. The sprightly Running Out of Time, not to be confused with the well-known Hot Hot Heat track, practically jumps at you with its choppy verses and svelte hooks. In less flattering ways, the angular guitars of Cest Comme Ça sound instantly familiar in an endearing way, with William's disaffected sing-speak (think Emily Haines of Metric) and childish chorus coming across as unflatteringly shoehorned. 

That's not to say that the band throws a few unexpected curveballs that counter these more evident musical influences. On You First, the band manages to step outside those more palpable influences to perform tuneful New Wave with an urgency that is all their own. The slow-burning ballad Liar, a touching examination about resisting one's natural instincts, boasts a sleek yet moody melody that rings true. Throughout, Williams releases herself from the insecurities that continually hold her back, whether she's tired of defending her artistic intentions or dealing with the aftermath of a divorce.

It's when Williams feels compelled to speak against societal concerns where she struggles to find anything new to say, like on The News, caught up in the anxiety of droning news coverage. But these slight missteps do little to deter what is some of the band's most instantly likable tracks in their career, where they turn up one rave-up rocker after the next with wide-eyed fury. Having proven themselves time and time again, they've far outpaced those unwilling to grow up with them.