Song of the Week breaks down and talks about the song we just can’t get out of our head each week. Find these songs and more on our Spotify Top Songs playlist. For our favorite new songs from emerging artists, check out our Spotify New Sounds playlist. This week, Paramore make a huge return with “This Is Why.”
It’s been 20 years since Hayley Williams moved from Mississippi to Tennessee, met the Farro brothers, and began the story of Paramore, one of the most exciting bands of the new millennium. Paramore has outlived most of their contemporaries, not just by continuing to exist as an entity, but also in terms of their enduring cultural relevance. While many bands of the Warped Tour Era flamed out or carried on by catering to nostalgia, Paramore have managed to remain vibrant and forward-looking as they weathered lineup changes and expanded the aperture of their sound to include synth-pop and new wave.
But while you can hear their influence today everywhere — the ascendance of Soccer Mommy, Snail Mail, MUNA, Pom Pom Squad, WILLOW, Beach Bunny, Meet Me @ the Altar, and so many other amazing acts feel spiritually tethered to Paramore — Paramore fans have needed to wait five years for a follow-up to 2017’s After Laughter.
That patience was rewarded earlier this week with “This Is Why,” an absolute heater of a lead single that previews an album of the same name set to drop in February 2023 following a comeback tour starting next week. The track finds Zac Farro and Taylor York laying down a slick groove over new touring guitarist Brian Robert Jones’ irrepressibly funky bassline. “If you have an opinion/ Maybe you should shove it,” Williams sings without a trace of a wink or a nod.
As someone who’s spent more years of her life in the spotlight than out of it, “This Is Why” explores Williams’ complicated feelings about fame and vulnerability, which were only exacerbated by years of lockdown brought upon by a global pandemic. So when Williams delivers the song’s hook — “this is why I don’t leave the house” — with power and panache, it lands as a gut punch for anyone who’s wrestled with how to act in a post-neverending pandemic “new normal” that is anything but normal.
As the song beckons you “one step beyond your door,” the paranoia fully sets in. You may not want to leave your house, but at least you’ll have a new soundtrack for when you’re dancing alone in the relative safety of your bedroom.
— Spencer Dukoff