Wall Street Times

Hayley Williams and Paramore Speak Their Minds with Political Lyrics on ‘This Is Why’

A subculture and genre that gained popularity in the early 2000s, emo has undergone a major resurgence in recent years.  

Emo has made a comeback as a major force in popular music, thanks to the resurgence of classic emo bands like My Chemical Romance and Fall Out Boy as well as the rise of contemporary acts like Phoebe Bridgers and The Neighborhood.

And now, one of the most iconic emo bands of all time, Paramore, is back with their first album in five years, “This Is Why.”

Consisting of singer Hayley Williams, guitarist Taylor York, and drummer Zach Farro, Paramore rose to fame early on with their mix of emo, punk and pop punk. 

The band amassed a sizable fan base thanks to hits like “Misery Business” and “Decode,” which solidified their status as emo legends. Currently, Paramore is once again making waves in the music industry thanks to the release of “This Is Why.”

But this album isn’t quite what you’d expect from an emo band in 2023. Rather than embracing the emo revival and capitalizing on the genre’s recent revival, Paramore takes a different approach. “This Is Why” isn’t emo, punk, or pop punk. 

In fact, it’s a deliberate departure from the sound that made Paramore famous. And it’s completely intentional. 

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Hayley Williams and her bandmates have long been renowned for their innovative musical style. They have always been willing to experiment and push the envelope. And they’ve achieved that with “This Is Why.”

The album is a melting pot of different genres and influences, from indie rock to alternative pop to R&B. It’s a testament to the band’s versatility and willingness to experiment.

So why did Paramore choose to go in this direction with their new album? It’s simple: they wanted to evolve. The music scene is constantly changing, and the band didn’t want to be stuck in the past. 

They wanted to create something new and fresh, something that would stand the test of time. And they’ve succeeded. “This Is Why” is a masterpiece, a tour de force of musical creativity and ambition.

The album is a departure from their earlier emo and pop-punk roots, and it’s a deliberate choice by the band. They didn’t want to remain in the past and instead wanted to create something new and fresh that would stand the test of time. 

And they’ve succeeded. The 10 songs on “This Is Why” are a tour de force of musical creativity and ambition, showcasing the band’s versatility and willingness to experiment.

But what sets “This Is Why” apart is its powerful political lyrics. The album examines the group’s anger and frustration over the state of the world, and it’s a reflection of the current political climate. 

The songs are a call to action, urging listeners to stand up and fight for what they believe in. It’s a bold statement from a band that’s never been afraid to speak their mind.

Emo Throughout the Years

Despite the major shift in sound, the members of Paramore can’t help but compare the early days of their career to the now emo and pop-punk revival. 

They’ve seen the genre they helped pioneer make a massive comeback in recent years, with old school emo bands like My Chemical Romance and Fall Out Boy making a comeback, and new acts like Phoebe Bridgers and The Neighborhood rising to prominence. 

But Paramore isn’t just cashing in on the sudden mainstream popularity of emo. They’re leading the charge and taking the genre in a new direction.

“It’s very unexpected,” Farro stated of how famous the genres have become. 

“It’s cool, but it’s also weird. Hayley got to express a lot of cool things [at 2022’s When We Were Young music festival] and speak to that scene [about] some stuff that needed to be touched on. If anything, [the genre] was for all the people that didn’t fit in, and it was cool to be there for that.”

Williams added: “It’s wild because emo meant something different to us when we were really young. When we came onto the scene, it was very much a bad word. It had negative connotations because even before us, that word was not really a welcomed expression or term to people in punk music.”

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Williams Reflection

Williams reflects on the early days of her career, when emo music was becoming more popular but emo kids were still seen as outcasts in high school.

The rising popularity of emo and pop-punk music is a surprising development for the band, considering how much the music industry has shifted since they got together. 

Williams mentions that there’s not much use for genres in today’s music world, and that people are now treating emo music as something cool.

This shift in attitudes towards emo music is a testament to the lasting power of the genre. Emo music has always been about expressing emotions and feelings that are often overlooked in society, and its popularity is a reflection of how relevant these emotions and experiences are for people today.

For Paramore, the resurgence of emo and pop-punk music is an opportunity to reach a new generation of fans and share their message with the world. 

Despite their success and longevity, the band remains true to their roots and is committed to creating music that defies genre and speaks to the human experience.

Photo: Louder Than War

Opinions expressed by The Wall Street Times contributors are their own.