What a time to re-enter your middle school emo phase. My Chemical Romance is touring again, Fall Out Boy is releasing a new album and Panic! at the Disco finally broke up. But out of all the bands that are making pop culture again, Paramore is the one I am the most excited about. So dust off your best pair of black skinny jeans and grab that choker you got at Hot Topic. It’s time to start listening. 

“This Is Why” is the band’s sixth studio album, their first since 2017’s “After Laughter.” “This Is Why” is also Paramore’s second album since the return of their original drummer Zac Farro. 

This album sees Paramore change their sound again in their almost 20-year career as a band. “After Laughter” was the trio’s first departure from the pop-punk sound that made them well-known for trading in guitar solos for an ‘80s new-wave sound and aesthetic. “This Is Why” has a muted color pallet, a contrast to the bright neon colors that marked the last album cycle and music videos. 

“This Is Why” feels like a mixture of the old and the new Paramore. They are pulling from their past to make something new and exciting. Lead singer Hayley Williams dyed her hair back to a subdued version of that iconic orange color that marked the “Riot” (2007) and “Brand New Eyes” (2009) era of the band. But the album also pulls from a variety of genres such as post-punk and alternative rock. 

“After Laughter” touches upon the internal conflicts one has with themselves. “This Is Why” deals with the external conflicts of everyday life and the relationships that come with it. 

The opener and title track starts the album off with a statement, “If you have an opinion/Maybe you should shove it/Or maybe you can scream it/Might be best to keep it/To yourself (To yourself)” The rest of the song covers the anxiety of coming out of your comfort zone in a still COVID-19 centered world, “One step beyond your door/Falling down an endless hall.” 

“The News” and “Figure 8” sound like they’ve been pulled straight from “Brand New Eyes.” 

“The News” especially with its hints of “Ignorance” in Taylor York’s guitar playing and Williams’ shrieking vocals. The track is loud and in your face. It demands the listener’s attention.

The lyrics in “Figure 8” explore the feelings of staying in a relationship you know is bad and how it affects the singer, “All for your sake/Became the very thing that I hate/I lost my way/Spinnin’ in an endless figure eight.” Williams is afraid this relationship will never end, hence the imagery to the infinity symbol: The toxic cycle will start over again once it ends.

The bridge of “Figure 8” documents the mental toll this relationship is taking on the singer, “Candlelight, candlelight/Burnin’ at both ends tonight.”

The sound of the album is reminiscent of Hayley Williams’ solo album “Petals for Armor” (2020) and, at times, feels like an extension of it, which makes sense because York produced both. 

Maybe because I am now in my twenties, but “After Laughter” and now “This Is Why” have become the two Paramore albums I have come back to the most. The more I listen to songs, the more the connection deepens. Events in my life have made me see the lyrics in a whole new light.

Paramore, like everyone, has gone through the growing pains that come with maturing and realizing that sometimes you need to accept that life will not be perfect. 

Mistakes will be made and sometimes you will get hurt. You have to take off those rose-colored glasses and make peace that nothing is perfect.