If you have an opinion, maybe you should shove it,” comes the defiant snarl of Paramore’s Hayley Williams on ‘This Is Why’, the title track of the band’s latest album. The single’s impassioned ethos is a perfect reflection of their sixth record — they may no longer be the newest outfit on the block, but they’ll be damned if they’ll become a heritage act.
Instead, their acknowledgement of their past allows the album to truly shine, with an effortless melding of their Riot! era pop-punk and the 80s-driven synthpop that defined 2017’s After Laughter. Take ‘The News’, which sees the glitchy riffs of their earlier days deployed in one of the album’s most powerful songs.
Elsewhere, ‘You First’ sees their latter-day funk taking precedence as Williams imparts the prescient message that, for better or worse, we’re all capable of letting each other down. It’s this new voice from Paramore that is one of the record’s strengths. Although the group are no strangers to taking on spurned lovers in their music, it’s arguable that their truths have never sounded so profound.
The striking ‘Figure 8’ — one of the album’s heaviest tunes — sees them dealing with the futility of changing your personality for a lover who doesn’t stick around. “All for your sake, I became the very thing I hate / I lost my way,” comes Williams’ searing cry on the track’s chorus. Still, ‘Crave’ proves there’s beauty to be found on the other side of pain. “What if I told them now I’m older that there isn’t a moment I’d want to change,” Williams offers. It’s a statement that rings true of their career too: Paramore remain as vital as ever.