Re: This Is Why
Paramore’s 2023 album, This Is Why, found the three-piece rebooting their sound, channeling the rage and anxiety borne by the early-2020s pandemic and other societal woes into spiky and urgent, yet danceable and even at times joyous music that recalled post-punk’s most enduring songs. The band sounded revitalized, pairing searing, unforgettable hooks with songs that seemed designed to self-deconstruct in real time. Re: This Is Why, which the band has called “almost a remix album,” further reframes this era, giving each of the record’s songs over to a different artist in Paramore’s orbit—seasoned indie acts like Panda Bear and The xx’s Romy, and artists that sprung up in the band’s wake like Claud and The Linda Lindas. Some have used each track’s bones to drape them in new textures; others have reworked songs wholesale. The wiry English duo Wet Leg gives the world-weary lyrics of “C’est Comme Ça” a sardonic edge while ticking the song’s tempo up just enough to make it feel even more frazzled; boygenius’ Julien Baker cracks open the bleak worldview of “Thick Skull” with a wrenching bummer-ride take. Bartees Strange’s slowed-down reimagining of “Figure 8” turns that spite-filled cut’s opening line—“Drained me dry until the last drop”—into an aesthetic command, while Apple Music’s own Zane Lowe turns the knotty “Running Out of Time” into a stretched-out, shimmery club cut, combining Hayley Williams’ pensive vocal with thumping beats in a way that transforms her into a commanding yet pensive dance-floor master. The collection is capped by Paramore’s demo version of the previously unreleased track “Sanity,” which pairs existentially troubled lyrics (“This must be the void I always talk about,” Williams muses on its chorus) with jagged guitars and scrambling drums—and while it would’ve fit in well on This Is Why proper, its inclusion here adds another dimension to this nearly 20-year-old band’s latest evolution.