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Revisiting Paramore's 'This Is Why' One Year Later

When I first reviewed this, in my closing thoughts I said that I had an inkling that 'This Is Why' would be in my favorite albums of 2023, and I was so right about that prediction. I can't tell you how many times I listened to this album and it served me in a whole array of different moods. This is an album that will age timelessly, and has already even though it's only been out for a year. In fact, as much as I love 'RIOT!', which is my favorite album, 'This Is Why' is what really made me fall in love with Paramore. What they stand for, what they represent, the people they've proven themselves to be, it all restores my faith in the music industry. That faith falters often as I watch how the mainstream absorbs music, or more specifically, what they absorb, but Paramore comes through and gives me a huge, life altering-hug and suddenly things seem a little brighter.


'This Is Why' came out just as I was beginning to come into adulthood, or at least begin to feel its pressures. Maybe that's why I connected with it so much and so easily. I'm sure that's how others felt when they were growing up and Paramore dropped an album that would be the anthems of teenage years or early adulthood. I've never gotten to encounter Paramore in this way before, to be excited and waiting for an album long before it drops, so the mental hype I'd created in my mind made the experience very thrilling. So many artists are predictable these days, and Paramore absolutely blew away my expectations for 'This Is Why'. I was thinking it would be sort of populicious like 'After Laughter', but not only did it have pieces of that album, it had small pieces from every one of their albums. I love the little cherry on top with the track Crave in which the message is that even though the band was unhappy with their lives during some parts of their early years, they wish they could relive them. I understand that feeling so deeply. It's difficult to combat nostalgia, especially when you know how sucky a time in your life was, but at the same time, there's an urge to experience it once more.


I hold this album very close to me. It's like an old friend everytime I listen to it now. It was even the headline album for volume one of The Music Box: The Magazine. Although I was very very (VERY) upset that I didn't get to see them this year (show canceled because of Hayley's lung infection), I hope that they'll be back someday. I genuinely would've never guessed that Paramore would play this big a part in my life, but I'm so grateful for their presence in it. Below is my original review, I'm going to add some comments onto my initial thoughts.


1. This Is Why

The first time I listened through the album, I was thinking that they shouldn't have released this as a single because it's just so good. But the more and more I listened to it as a whole, I think it was the perfect choice to release first. It sets the tone and the idealogy surrounding the album almost immediately. I love how straightforward it is too, there's not much room for misinterpretation. "If you have an opinion, maybe you should shove it." I just love that line! The whole song seems like an angry sigh at the world. They're fed up with society and the stupid things that people do, and that's why they don't "leave the house". They don't wanna deal with that crap, and I totally get it. Not only are the lyrics scarily relevant, but is just so CATCHY! Such a fun, danceable track that still has that signature Paramore sound. The bass line in the beginning is totally infectious too. All around, a great introduction to the little world they've created with this album.


I still completely agree with what I said last year. I'm much more confident in the idea that This Is Why was the perfect first single to drop. It definitely set the tone for this whole era.


2. The News

Another song that is so flippin' self aware that's it's scary. These topics, these ideas, they need to be talked about, they need to be brought to light in ways that they aren't already. What better way to do that than with music? Especially because they have such a big platform. I would bet that a lot of this song came out of the pandemic and false information spreading around while no one really knows what to believe. But, also the idea that people abuse the internet and purposefully spread hate. There's so many ways to interpret this song. The constant noise of advertising, of sounds, of anything that can subliminally influence someone. It's crazy. "But I worry and I give money, and I feel useless behind this computer, and that's just barely scratched the surface of my mind". I love how the band sees right through all of these things and actually puts those emotions into words. Not knowing how to help when something horrible is happening on the other side of the world is a sucky feeling. The way Hayley is delivering the lyrics feels angry, pent up, and overall ready to lose her mind. The guitar is heavier compared to the other tracks and I love how all over the place it is in different parts, yet so perfect. All of it feels angry, angry, angry, and that's what the music industry needs right now. Real emotion. Real conversation about things that matter. Aside from the lyrics and meaning, it overall is just such a BANGER! What a good song to scream in the car, especially the "exploitative, performative, informative, and we don't know the half of it" part. So much fun to sing along to.


I love this song because it will always remain relevant until the world no longer exists. We often see conflict and pain in the world but there's nothing that can really be done by one person. It's a sad way to live, but the truth. Plus, you can never know the full extent of what's happening because all of the news sites and channels have turned into misinforming crap dungeons. The inflection of anger in Hayley's voice makes me angry right alongside her. I want to scream and shout and protest, but nothing seems to make a difference and that's just our reality now.


3. Running Out Of Time

I can't listen to this song without fighting the urge to get up and groove along with it. Another super fun and danceable track! And, another one with lyrics that have just blown me away, as did most of the album. I love the acknowledgement of how on brand it is for them to be late, but the intentions are always in the right place. I'm sure with their lifestyles and occupations, they are actually always running out of time. My favorite part about this track is the little "ah!" right as the chorus comes in, and also the "there was a fire!metaphorically, be there in five! hyperbolically" part is just so good and brings such a fun extra layer of honesty. This might just be my favorite song off of the album, like it's straight up accepting the reality of something that's your own fault, you know? I I adore that. So much fun.


As much as this track is fun and danceable, I've really grown to see the maturity in it. It's so hard to admit that it's your own fault when something goes wrong, especially when it's on account of poor time management. While it's delivered in a very engaging way, I enjoy more the impact of the lyrics. There really is never enough hours in the day to get things done, but still, being late and running out of time is only one person's fault. Even rockstars get anxious and overwhelmed by all the things that need to get done!


4.C'est Comme Ça

"I run on spite and sweet revenge." WHAT A GREAT LINE! I really love them for writing that lyric. It's so funny but so so true. The one thing I wasn't a huge fan of about this album is that all the really fun songs are right at the beginning, and that most of them were released as singles (except Running Out Of Time). That being said, this is kind of the last one on the super groovy and danceable streak of songs. From my understanding, c'est comme ça means "it is what it is" or "this is it", so this track is similar to the last in the way that it's kind of just accepting your own fate, or accepting the way things turn out instead of fighting it. The way that some of the lines are spoken as opposed to being sung is great, and it works SO well in this instance. Hayley has really mastered that. I've been trying to figure out "My social life, a chiropractic appointment" and the more I think about it, the less it makes sense, but I love that so much about it. Overall, a great song that brings a lot of unique elements to the table while continuing with the very open and vulnerable lyrics.


This song and Running Out Of Time have kind of switched places for me because now C'est Comme Ça is the one I can't sit still for. This is the one that I HAVE to start dancing along to, so that being said, I can't listen to it in public. Hah. Still adore the self awareness and borderline concerning lyrics put over the most funky instrumentals.


5. Big Man, Little Dignity

The first major step back from the vibe of the first four songs, and I love it. It's soft, yet a little broken, and also heart wrenching when you really listen to what's being said. I interpret it as being obsessed with this person who you know is not as put together as they seem on the outside. Someone you love looking at and admiring, but you know that it's exactly what they want you to do. Truly the outside vs. the inside of a person. Or even, someone who's done a lot of wrong, whether it be to you or just in general, and try to reinvent themself, but that doesn't hide what's still on the inside. I have so much fun analyzing Paramore's lyrics and interpreting them in my own way, I enjoy it so much because they truly bring a lot to the table with the meaning of each word. This chorus gets stuck in my head a lot which is not at ALL a bad thing, I love it. And Taylor's guitar parts right at the end of the chorus are so cool. I hear a lot about guitarists/bands that have a very specific sound, like John Frusciante or The Strokes, and I think that Paramore does too, especially throughout the chorus of this album. It's cool really hearing that in each track.


I've completely changed the way I think about this song. Big Man, Little Dignity isn't about love at all, but rather the big headed men that run our world. Politicians, managers, executives, even musicians that think they're way more than they are. Men rule everything, our bodies, our rights, our boundaries as women. It's a fact, as much as we've tried time and time again to change that. It goes right back to The News, sometimes all you can do is watch things happen because change seems to be nonexistent these days. I appreciate this song a lot more deeply now that I understand it in this light.


6. You First

I think this song would've been a perfect track to drop as a single, in fact I would trade this one for C'est Comme Ça. It would've evened out the ratio a little more, vibe-wise. Once again, I'm just in love with the self-reflection in this album. I see this song as a divide within yourself: The side that is tamer, more aware, and then the side that's just as human as everyone else and makes mistakes. Not quite a split personality, just noticing things about yourself that you don't like but will still always be there. As Hayley sings, "can't shake the devil sitting on my shoulder". The whole metaphor about feeding the stray animals scraps is really awesome too, what an insightful way to present this issue. I really feel like she's talking to herself, like she's both the problem and the solution, you know? It would've been cool if they'd used the concept from the The News video with two different Hayleys for this song, but it still totally works for that song too. Either way, it's an amazing track and it's wonderful how the band is able to write in such a vulnerable way. It doesn't feel like asking for attention, just simply acknowledging the issues within themselves instead of pushing them down.


I disagree with my 2023 self. I'm glad this wasn't a single because it was such a refreshing surprise to hear following the five songs before it. I don't think I would've appreciated it as much as a single. I do agree with the rest that I said about it though, it's a beautiful track and I love the idea of it reflecting a divided self.


7. Figure 8

AGAIN with the being so self aware? Realizing and acknowleding you've become someone you don't like all for someone/something else? Incredible. "Spinnin' in and endless figure 8", what a wonderful way to represent going in circles and being unable to stop it. "I won't miss the feelin', my flimsy spine, unsuspicious mind, I was only bein' kind, but you mistook me for weak". Kindness mistaken for weakness is such an interesting concept to me, and once again, it's brought up in such a beautiful way. I love how rough and scratchy the guitar feels right before Hayley sings "I don't know how to stop" and then the how aggresive the vocals are. The layering of her singing and then kind of screaming in the background is perfect, and sort of like the idea in You First, it almost portrays two sides of the same coin talking to each other. I like this track a lot, it's strong and aggresive but somehow still has a vibe of disappointment.


Honestly, this song resonates with me even more than it did when I first listened. Sometimes I feel so trapped in the world doing the exact same thing everyday on a loop, never in a truly happy state. The connotation of this song is a bit different than how I personally relate to it, but either way, it's just as impactful.


8. Liar

I'm obsessed with the tenderness in this song, the soft feeling of giving in to the truth, whether that be to yourself or to someone else. I'm interpreting this as falling in love and not being able to admit it, even if both people know it's there. What a gorgeous way to say this. "Love is not an easy thing to admit, but I'm not ashamed of it, love is not a weakening if you feel it rushin' in, don't be ashamed of it". Maybe having this preconception that love makes you weak but wanting to be strong. This might be my new favorite love song, honestly. A sweet and heartwarming confession that holds strength and courage, never weakness. (I would like to update this and say that I read the Genius annotation that Hayley said this song was about falling in love with Taylor York and that is just so SWEET and I love them as a couple).


I still love them as a couple. That's all.


9. Crave

Nostalgia. What a crazy and disruptive feeling. At least for me, because when I start to get nostalgic, I just get sad. It's rarely a sweet reflection. But this song brings such an interesting perspective to nostalgia. Feeling as though those times built something good but being able to move on from it without it holding you up. The chorus is so gorgeous and I adore hearing Hayley sing things in this way. "Crave, crave, to do it again, just for a second, it all felt simple, I'm already missin' it". It's almost another love song, just a love song to the band's past experiences instead of a person. Such a genuine and sweet song that feels like looking back with a smile rather than sadness. Understanding that those memories are important, even if they hurt at the time. I have this argument with myself a lot where I want to go back to a point in time, but I also know and recognize that the way I felt at that time wasn't good. But for some reason I still romanticize it. I think, "I would be okay with being sad if it were in that place and time again", but in reality I wouldn't be okay with it. This song brings nostalgia to a light that isn't toxic, which is what I'm used to with that feeling. Beautifully executed.


This is another one that I treasure dearly because no other song has so perfectly explained what nostalgia truly feels like. It distorts and romanticizes moments that actually weren't so great. And again, their meaning of it is in a far different context that mine, but the points are the same. There's so many things I wish I could experience once more because I notice every so often how certain memories are losing their clarity in my mind. I'd love to relive these things simply so I could hold onto the memory longer.


10. Thick Skull

Album endings are very special to me. I think there's a specific importance to the way an album is finished, and that being said, as the finale, I can't say that I love this song for that purpose. Aside from that, this is another perfect track. More reflection, this time I believe looking back on their career as a band and everything they endured by being in the spotlight. The pressure, the people in their lives that ended up being toxic, continually repeating mistakes and watching the same outcome unfold. In a sense, if this is about looking back on their career, I can see why they chose this as a closer. Sonically it doesn't feel like an album end to me, it feels like giving up. I don't know. I have very mixed feelings about this song. I do really love the way the song kind of winds up and picks up pace as it progresses and the vocals grow stronger, along with the guitars and drums.


I can confidently say that this song clicked for me once I listened to it more. At first, I don't think I really felt the full range of emotions that this song can bring out, but now, I have. The pick up in vibe at the end is one of the most transcendent moments on the album. They did something special with this track and I apologize for saying I had mixed feelings about it because I DON'T. It's a perfect song.


Closing Thoughts

I kind of had the same inkling with this album as I did with Pierce The Veil's album, it's definitely going to be pretty far up my list of favorite albums of 2023. At first, I honestly didn't love it that much. But everytime I listened to it I fell more in love, especially once I started really reading the lyrics. It's a beautiful reflection on their career, love, the state of the world, and so much more. I really love this album, I can say that much confidently. It's mature yet still has a bit of that angst we know Paramore so well for.


Emphasis on the more that I listened to it the more I fell in love because that's probably the most true thing I said in that whole review. I adore this album, and I cannot wait to grow old with it by my side.


2023 Rankings:

1. Running Out Of Time

2. The News

3. C'est Comme Ça

4. Big Man, Little Dignity

5. This Is Why

6. You First

7. Liar

8. Crave

9. Figure 8

10. Thick Skull



2024 Rankings:

1. The News

2. C'est Comme Ça

3. You First

4. Thick Skull

5. This Is Why

6. Running Out Of Time

7. Big Man, Little Dignity

8. Figure 8

9. Crave

10. Liar

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