Album Review: Paramore masterfully bridges nostalgia and novelty in new album ‘This Is Why’

After a long hiatus, fans are eager to return to the world of Paramore with new alternative rock record


Photo Courtesy of Hayley Williams' Instagram

Paramore makes an iconic comeback to the music scene with ‘This Is Why.’

by Aaliyah Alexander, Senior Staff Writer

The time has officially come. Paramore is back. 

The early 2000s band finally released their much-anticipated album on Feb. 10 after a five-year hiatus

Paramore’s comeback is a big deal for two reasons: one — their music quite literally colors many Gen Z childhoods and millennial heydays, and two — because of this nostalgic factor, the expectations for this album are pretty damn high. 

The band’s music took on a life of its own during the group’s hiatus, landing in the headphones of the up-and-coming generation and amassing a new fan base. 

This presents a challenge to bands who break up or take a hiatus for a significant amount of time but later return to the music scene. That challenge? Bridging the gap. 

Building a bridge between new-school fans and old is a challenge Paramore is well aware of, according to an interview with Billboard, but they appeared unfazed by the task.  

The album starts with the title track “This is Why,” a groovy, funky tune with catchy lyrics. Initially, when the song was released as a single on Sept. 28, 2022, it wasn’t what I expected even though the song is reminiscent of others heard in previous albums such as “Paramore” and “After Laughter.” However, this song grows on a listener, especially after viewing it live on Jimmy Kimmel as the lead singer Haley Williams rocks out on stage with her iconic orange hair.  

The album has many songs like this; ones that have to grow on you. 

For those looking to listen to this record solely for the vibes, then they’re definitely there. But for those looking for compelling lyrics and deeper messages, then the record delivers that as well in both subtle and direct ways. 

The track “Running Out Of Time,” for example, initially sounds simple, relatable and quirky, but Williams feels that this phrase speaks not only to day-to-day, minuscule problems but also to larger societal issues we’re facing.

“There’s so much serious shit happening. There’s so many causes,” Williams said in an interview. “Like how does a person who is… socially aware… even pick what thing to focus on … when everything is an emergency? It does feel like there’s not enough time in the day, in the month, in the year to fix everything.”

To say that this album is reflective of the individual growth Paramore’s members underwent wouldn’t be accurate because past work reflects the appropriate phases they were in. That is, their sound and lyrics reflect the time, place and headspace they were inhabiting — something you ask of artists. 

Instead, this album hits listeners with the realization that the members of their favorite band aren’t teenagers anymore. They’re now grown 30-somethings who are going to write and sing about 30-somethings’ reality, perceptions and challenges. This brings deeper layers and relatable themes to the project — something old-school fans need while leaving room for new fans to explore and grow into the album. 

Unlike many nostalgic bands that reunited after some years, Paramore actually pulled it off. 

Usually when bands reunite, they fail to evolve their sound and offer something new to existing fans while enticing prospective fans. They try to ride the wave of their previous era of success, leaving seasoned fans, quite frankly, wishing they had left us alone with their old hits (You know? “Quitting while they’re ahead” sort of deal). However, Paramore gave new and seasoned fans a fresh sound, but not too far out to the point that we didn’t recognize them. It felt familiar. 

“This is Why” marks a new era for Paramore. This 10-song record fits perfectly into their discography of timeless albums.