Hayley Williams

Hayley Williams has taken my ass around the block for a joyride through three emotionally and musically contrasting album sections (or EPs) in Petals For Armor. Bursting onto the scene with “Simmer”, one of the strongest tracks on the album, led to a perfect build in anticipation as she slowly released songs from each section leading up to… Well… tonight- midnight of the 8th of May.

We knew from the second we saw Hayley running naked through the woods as a weirdly intimate scatting of breaths filled the back that this was going to be a cherished personal experience that we could never prepare for.

EP1 of Petals For Armor was released and I was worried. Songs like Simmer, Leave It Alone and Cinnamon are so bright that the other songs on the EP pale in comparison. They’re great songs but maybe this isn’t the stage for them. Silver being compared to gold shouldn’t devalue the gold but sometimes a greedy person can’t quite help it.

Then, week by week, songs from EP2 were released and something was different. We start to hear songs with funkier sections, like ‘My Friend’ and ‘Why We Ever’. Pop starts to sneak in with ‘Over Yet’, and we were not upset with the change… We were enthralled. Then the slam dunk of ‘Dead Horse’ is released with clear but undirected references to previous Paramore songs (you know the ones) and you have no choice but to sing along. There was just something about EP2 that made my heart hurt, maybe the painful lyrics connected to the upbeat fun music suggests an acceptance of fate? 

Slowly through EP1 and EP2 the bass had more to do, the drums built up, the music was created around more hopeful and understanding lyrics and a clear change was seen. Even with a slow build up I’m not sure anyone was ready for what awaited us in EP3.

EP3 is going to command music sensibilities for months from now. The vocal run at the end of the bridge of ‘Pure Love’? The bass fill in ‘Watch Me While I Bloom’? The chanting of ‘Sugar On ‘The Rim’? Is it bold to say I felt my soul leave my body, because I think my heart stopped. EP3 has managed to bring pop new flavour and rhythm. It got the memo that 80s music was back on trend and misinterpreted it to a truly glorious fault. In this final part we get rough belts from Hayley, like she finally is going to break out of your laptop screen. It’s rough and victorious and we are all cheering from the bleachers. 

As a whole Petals For Armor has truly injected life into a pretty soulless time. This album has taken the gold medal of 2020… and the silver… and the bronze… It has collected my attention, even when it is not playing. 

Rating: ★★★★★

Petals For Armor is available to stream now

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