Fans of Paramore are in for a treat from the lead singer and her new music.
After releasing two EPs earlier this year — “Petals For Armor I” and “Petals For Armor II” — Paramore’s lead singer, Hayley Williams, has come out with part 3 of the EP trilogy in her first full-length solo album, “Petals For Armor.”
The new album has both EPs as well as a third part, so the tracklist is counted one through five, then starts back at one.
For those who haven’t heard either EP, the album isn’t what long-time Paramore listeners would expect. Instead of having an upbeat, rock sound like “Riot” or the band’s self-titled album, “Petals for Armor” has a slower sound. The album brings light to mental health issues. According to the Los Angeles Times, Williams has been dealing with negative feelings since Paramore split up, such as a family problem involving her grandmother falling down a flight of stairs and Williams going through a divorce.
In an interview with Apple Music, Williams said the album encapsulates her struggles, and the title is a metaphor for “being vulnerable.” The album’s a little softer than what she’d usually produce with Paramore. Each song has a minimal amount of instruments and simple vocals instead of Williams projecting her voice during a song.
“Simmer,” the first song, discusses how to cope with and control anxiety, depression or any other negative feelings. It opens with a 40-second instrumental introduction involving drums and some beatboxing done by Williams herself before she begins singing. It starts with her mentioning rage within her body that’s hard to stop, but she reminds herself to control it.
“Leave It Alone” is rawer than a typical Paramore song. She doesn’t use many instruments with the exception of some in the chorus. The verses only contain her vocals with a bass and drums. It focuses on the feeling of grief when losing a loved one. In the third verse, Williams sings, “If you know love / You best prepare to grieve / Let it enter your open heart / And then prepare to let it leave,” which is an emotional way to summarize the song’s message.
“My Friend” is also slow and subtle but gets more upbeat at certain points. It’s written about makeup artist and hairstylist, Brian O’Connor, according to Genius Lyrics. He’s a long-time friend of Williams and has been with her through the highs and lows of life. Williams mentions this aspect of their friendship with lyrics, “You've seen me from all sides / Still down for the ride / my friend, you know why.”
In the song “Dead Horse,” Williams starts off with recorded audio of her apologizing for sending the song late due to her depression coming back. It’s all about the events that occurred in her marriage that ended in a divorce, including her affair. Williams talks about how she stayed with the other man longer than she should’ve and got what she deserved. The song has more of a pop sound than a majority of the other tracks.
While the album goes over a number of dark topics, “Watch Me While I Bloom” is about Williams growing and escaping a dark state of mind. It’s about her growing like a flower, blooming and feeling good in her body. Near the end, Williams sings, “If you feel like you're never gonna reach the sky / 'Til you pull up your roots / leave your dirt behind.” This has a slower sound with many powerful vocal moments for Williams.
“Petals For Armor” is an honest and open album as Williams brings up what she personally went through after Paramore decided to take a break. Producing an album about serious, significant events the artist goes through is always eye-opening because it portrays them as a genuine person who’s willing to share deep subjects with fans. That’s exactly what Williams does with this album.
Contact Gracie Brogowski at email@example.com. For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter @Breeze_Culture.