Published May 08, 2020Paramore's Hayley Williams makes her bold introduction as a solo artist with Petals for Armor, a refreshing pop album that started as therapy homework. Written during Paramore's hiatus, Petals for Armor features contributions from some of Williams' bandmates, including production by guitarist Taylor York, occasional drumming by Zac Farro, and co-writing by touring bassist Joey Howard.
The flower-filled album progresses through three parts: rage, resilience and redemption. The songs are versatile and honest; Williams has been transparent about her mental health and family issues that serve as lyrical inspiration.
Though Paramore's influence still shows in songs like "Over Yet," the album's full of stylistic departures. Lead-off track "Simmer" is unexpectedly angry, unlike anything Williams has written before, and marks the first time she's sworn in a recorded song. Even more diverse is the poppy "Dead Horse," which incorporates influence by Nigerian duo the Lijadu Sisters. "Sugar on the Rim" is a rhythmically complex track that's full of life, followed by the confidence of "Watch Me While I Bloom" that ties together the album's floral motif.
While Williams has no plans to leave her Paramore family just yet, Petals for Armor is a musically strong, emotionally vulnerable album that finds her standing confidently as an artist in her own right.