Paramore’s ‘This Is Why’ is a snarling, defiant middle finger to the haters

"You’re either with us or you can keep it to yourself", Williams warns on the band's first track since 2018

A lot has changed in the time Paramore been away. It’s been five years since their most recent album, their last live show was in 2018, and the legacy of the ‘00s pop-punk explosion has been reconsidered, with the band finally given the respect they’ve always deserved; a revival on TikTok has seen their music exposed to a new, furious generation. This new chapter is also the first since 2007’s breakout album ‘Riot!’ that hasn’t come with a line-up change and the press-led drama that’s always followed.

Like fellow emo outsiders My Chemical Romance, Paramore are returning bigger than ever but comeback single ‘This Is Why’ – taken from their new album of the same name, out in February – is a giddy statement of purpose that does away with conversations of legend or worries about still fitting in.

Opening with a playful guitar line and rumbling drums that dance throughout the track (and echoes Wolf Alice’s ‘Giant Peach’), there are nods to the ‘80s new wave that drove 2017’s ‘After Laughter’. More than a continuation of what’s come before though, there’s a newfound urgency to the party-starting music that takes influence from their angsty days as scrappy pop-punkers. Paramore have praised Bloc Party and Foals recently and there’s a similar disco-stomp driving ‘This Is Why’.

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The lyrics are still as direct as we’ve come to expect from Williams in recent years. However while ‘After Laughter’ and her two solo albums offered catharsis through song, ‘This Is Why’ is a snarling, clapback anthem: “If you have an opinion, maybe you should shove it,” she sings at the track’s beginning. “Maybe you could scream it, might be best to keep it to yourself.”

Elsewhere she describes life as “survival of the fittest. You’re either with us or you can keep it to yourself,” she sings, fighting for a community spirit. With Paramore using their platform in recent months to support abortion rights and to stand up for marginalised communities, ‘This Is Why’ feels inherently political but maintains a sense of joy.

‘This Is Why’ is a defiant song struggling with paranoia that champions safe spaces. As Williams explained in a letter to fans: “The idea of getting out there and doing what we do at a time like this feels heavy and futile and necessary all at once. It also feels like the perfect time to take advantage of every opportunity we are given to leverage our platform for good causes. Whether those are literal causes or whether it’s just about showing ourselves and each other that music is still a good place to be.”

Across five albums, Paramore have dabbled in everything from snarling post-rock and impassioned emo to shiny pop and ukulele-led ditties. Through it all, a sense of togetherness has raged and while ‘This Is Why’ sees the band continuing to break new ground, its unifying energy gives it a familiar freedom.

“I think we are about to experience our happiest, most fulfilling moments as Paramore,” Williams went on to say in a letter to fans. “And when I say, “WE”, I do hope by now you know what I mean.”

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