ALBUM REVIEW: Hayley Williams // Petals For Armor


Recommended Tracks: Simmer, Over Yet, Pure Love
Artists You May Like:  PVRIS, Sainte, Deaf Havana

In January, Paramore’s Hayley Williams surprised fans by announcing that she would be releasing a solo project, Petals For Armor.  The first single from the album was released with the announcement, and ushered us into a world that looked and sounded very different from Paramore.  A strange, yet beautiful narrative was being created with every song and video that followed, exposing sides of Hayley that we had never known before.  It can be scary to let people know the real you, but when you have petals for armor, there is nothing to fear.

The album is broken up into three parts – the first being the most guarded.  It kicks off with “Simmer,” a surging track that looks for ways to control unprompted fits of rage.  Hayley sings, “Rage is a quiet thing / Oh, you think that you’ve tamed it / But it’s just lying in wait.”  Most of the songs in Part I deal with these inner conflicts, and how to distinguish the good from the bad.  On the more stripped back and melancholy “Leave It Alone,” for instance, Hayley struggles with the idea of life and loss.  She wonders how to find comfort in life, knowing that everything around her will eventually perish.  The tracks all morph into one character who wants to get to a happier place, but something keeps holding them back.

Our character gets a little closer to salvation on Part II.  There is definitely a lighter feel on this part of the album, with tracks that are more buoyant and upbeat.  Whether it is the sound of the tracks themselves, such as the pop vibes on “Dead Horse” and “Over Yet,” or the optimism in the lyrics, you can sense that a breakthrough is coming.  My favorite track from this section is “Roses/Lotus/Violet/Iris,” which compares the qualities of womanhood to the qualities of blooming flowers.  The floral metaphors conjure up powerful images, and relay incredible messages of strength, determination, and self-care.

The final part of the album embraces the beauty and value of love, from the love that is present in others to the love that is present in yourself.  Our character has pushed through their own insecurities and hesitations, only to find something worthwhile.  The sentiment of not letting fear get the better of you is exquisitely expressed on the closing track, “Crystal Clear,” where Hayley observes that love is a risk, but if it is with the right person, then there is no need to be afraid.  The track is made all the more special with Hayley’s “Grandat,” who is featured at the end.

Overall, Petals For Armor is an album that does not play by the rules.  The tracks are unconventional and intricate, with revealing lyrics and peculiar melodies.  There is a certain level of acceptance within each track, reminding us that we do not need to feel ashamed of our downfalls, or bothered by our feelings; it is all about letting go.

You can stream Petals For Armor on sites like Apple Music and Spotify.

Keep up with Hayley Williams:  Twitter // Instagram // Website


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