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'This Is Why' by Paramore, ranked

Feb. 10, Paramore celebrated the first anniversary of "This Is Why," the band's sixth studio album. As someone who has ranked previous albums from the band, such as 2017's "After Laughter," it's been over a year of reflection and constant listening to have the ability to rank an almost perfect rock album.

Here is a ranking of "This Is Why" by Paramore:

10. "Liar"

"Liar" is a beautiful love song from the band, but it doesn't stand out as a defining track. It's too slow and lacks experimentation from the band. Perhaps the song was just a moment in the album for the band to catch its breath, especially following songs like "The News" and "Figure 8." Overall, its sentimental tone is nice. Still, Paramore has way better love songs, such as "Hate to See Your Heart Break" and "The Only Exception."

9. "Thick Skull"

"Thick Skull" is an underrated song on "This Is Why," but it takes too long for the band to gain momentum. A song about gravitating toward people with bad morals and values, it's a raw moment in the album, hence its ranking. However, frontwoman Hayley Williams restrains herself for much of this song, with her high soprano and signature belting style coming out at the final moments of the track. This song had a lot of potential to be a better album ending but missed the mark.

8. "This Is Why"

The album's title track was the band's first lead single in September 2022. Reminiscent of 1990s grunge and with vocal imitations similar to those of the Talking Heads, Paramore truly went outside of the box sonically for this record. Its faults lie in the song's repetitive chorus and production, with members Taylor York and Zac Farro limiting their usually loud emphasis on the guitar and drums. It's a great moment on the album overall, but many other songs have a more lasting impact on listeners.

7. "You First"

With an introduction that sounds like a siren blaring in the near distance, "You First" is definitely a callback to Paramore's "Twilight" soundtrack days. It feels like a sister song to "Decode," and it's a pivotal moment on the album in terms of lyricism. Williams sings about karma, hoping that the people in her life who have used her for her fame and success eventually pay for it. With a vengeful tone, it's an easy song to head bang and jump around to, which, I can assure everyone reading this, was an awesome moment when I saw the band live over the summer. 

6. "Running Out Of Time"

Paramore bled more into a pop-alternative sound with "Running Out Of Time," highlighting the band's range as musicians. It's a playful, comedic song about wishing for more time in the day, which most millennials and Generation Z listeners can relate to in a society that values a fast-paced work environment. Williams uses her voice to emote a sense of anxiety and fear that comes with regrets, a theme present throughout much of "This Is Why." I greatly enjoy this track for its humor and sarcasm, which is hard to find in many rock songs today.

5. "Figure 8"

For some Paramore fans, "Figure 8" is their favorite song off the album. Personally, it is too intense to be played all the time. Williams' voice reaches new heights on this song, hitting notes that haven't been in her register since 2009's "All I Wanted." This song talks a lot about unhealthily changing for someone else, with Williams bringing in her own personal experiences of emotional and mental abuse into its lyrics. She finally lets out all her pain and anger in this song's iconic bridge, screaming at the top of her lungs. It's also a powerful moment in the album, proving the band's willingness to let Williams be honest with their fans.

4. "C'est Comme Ça"

In an interview with NMEWilliams said this track was about "trying to get un-addicted to a survival narrative." You can hear her weariness in this "C'est Comme Ça" as she sings about trying to separate herself from the triggers that made her mental health worse, and that's why this song stands out sonically from the rest. Using her speaking voice, York and Farro accompany Willliams' anxiety by playing around with bouncy synths and quick bass riffs, causing the tempo of the song to slowly increase. Overall, this song addresses how breaking bad habits is harder than it looks, especially for musicians constantly in the spotlight.

3. "Crave"

One of this album's most heartwarming and emotional songs by far is "Crave." The band explores how its career has changed since its start in the early 2000s, as well as the urge to return to simpler times. Nostalgia is extremely present in this song, and its lyrics are some of the best on the album. Lines like "I can't wait to memorize this day / Oh, a picture cannot contain the way it feels" and "Any second, feel the present / Future and the past connecting" unleash a feeling of wanting to savor each moment before it's gone, which is a sentiment many feel now in the digital age.

2. "The News"

"The News" has established Williams as one of Generation Z's coolest, more unapologetic singers. Calling out the media for spreading misinformation and encouraging sensationalism, Paramore created a superb rock song that many fans had wanted from them for so long. Tying in hints of other songs like "Misery Business" and "Ignorance," the band sounds just like it did all those years ago, but even better. You can feel the band's anger and frustration through Williams' vocals and the backing production fueled by York's rapid guitar playing and Farro's incessant drum beating. 

1. "Big Man, Little Dignity"

The No.1 spot goes to "Big Man, Little Dignity" for a multitude of reasons. First, it pulls major influences from other bands like Fleetwood Mac, sounding much like a 1970s groovy, shoegaze track. Williams sounds more mature and sure of herself than in previous albums here, fed up with being in a male-dominated industry. The song, while more subdued than other tracks on the album, is very poignant lyrically. For female-identifying listeners, Williams sings of the common experiences they face on a daily basis, which is a relatable message. The overall sound and cohesiveness of the band are super evident here as well, and it's a song that truly produced a tone that fans hadn't heard before.


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