Thursday, December 7, 2023
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Paramore – RE: This is Why Review

Paramore releases their re-imagined version of their phenomenal latest album – This Is Why – remixing each track individually on the record and featuring some of the artists who inspire them and those who have championed the band.

The genre-bending remix album starts with the re-imagined version of lead single, This Is Why, featuring indie rock band Foals. Despite remaining pretty similar to the original, the synth-rock and psychedelic nature Foals bring to the table presents itself. “This is why I don’t leave the house,” is sampled from Hayley Williams’ vocals in the original – it echoes behind a jaunty beat and bassline from the remixed rockers.

Next comes The News, redone by LA rockers – The Linda Lindas. After supporting them on their latest American tour – Paramore passes the torch to the band to introduce a new lease of life to the track. It is rockier – heavier – and more passionate. The Linda Lindas do the song a favour by adding a head-banging element to the track. During the bridge, the track alternates between Williams’s vocals and a Spanish section added by the LA rockers.

Both remixes of Running Out Of Time – by Panda Bear and Zane Lowe – are forgettable. For a song which hit the Billboard charts, these remixed stylings are nothing special, you could say they ruin the original. While Panda Bear’s version appears just noise and hums, Zane Lowe tackles it from a futuristic point of view – turning it into a track which will play to get the final few out of the nightclub so the workers can call it a night.

A song that should be considered one of the best of Paramore’s discography – is C’est Comme Ça featuring Wet Leg. This song was made for the British indie band as the deadpan and satirical lyricism feeds into the mantra of Wet Leg. It is nothing but perfect – accompanied by added screams for the song’s final seconds – it is a prime track.

Big Man Little Dignity loses its flare and personal meaning with the remix from DOMI & DJ Beck. It does not hit the same any more. The same goes for Figure 8 featuring Bartees Strange – once a hit, now a flop. Figure 8 sounds like a slow and reverb TikTok stylisation of the track, again, missable and forgettable. Sandwiched between these lacklustre attempts at re-imagining Paramore is You First, featuring Remi Wolf. The song takes a different turn compared to the heavier tour opener crafted by Paramore, yet it is still memorable. “Slow like mould in the vent of the walls / You saw me coming,” mirrors the final girl horror motif in the original track – Remi sticks to the song’s roots.

Another stand-out is Liar, featuring ROMY. The silky smooth vocals complement Williams’ effortlessly. It is a beautiful and velvety track. It makes a gut-wrenching yet heart-filling song even more personal and meaningful. Claud’s re-working of Crave is simple yet satisfying, stripped-back even.

Potentially the best re-working on the record is Thick Skull featuring Julien Baker. Julien is no stranger to a Paramore record as she had her hand in backing vocals and guitar on Williams’ solo project – Petals for Armour – yet there is something so beautiful about Julien on Thick Skull. The song transports you to a different realm. Julien makes the song. Her gritty vocals and powerful guitar riffs tackle the song, making the already vivid and violent imagery even more gut-wrenching. When she sings: “Only I knew where all the bodies are buried,” you can’t help but get goosebumps, it is a special moment on the record.

Despite all the re-workings of already released Paramore tracks – the emo-rockers gift audiences with an unheard B-side – Sanity (Demo). Written during the After Laughter era in 2017 – the song encompasses a similar Talking Heads jovial beat paired with depressing lyrics and themes. Williams’ vocals are killer on the track – accompanied by Taylor York’s bass and Zac Farro’s jaunty drum beat. As the band echoes: “This must be the void,” the self-doubt in the track emerges – following the themes explored in After Laughter. It is a real treat for Paramore fans.

With some re-workings better than others – the record proves that you cannot imitate Paramore – only re-imagine. It is a cohesive, bold, and fun body of work. Standouts from The Linda Lindas, Wet Leg, Remi Wolf, Julien Baker, and the obnoxiously catchy B-side from Paramore prove the album to be worth a listen – ignoring the lesser and filler remixes which lack in grit the rest of the record carries.


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