Towards the end of last year, Hayley Williams hinted that she would be releasing her own music on her social media. She said it would be releasing towards the start of 2020, and that time has officially come.
The “Petals for Armor” EP is the first half of her album. Thus far, “Petals for Amor” has demonstrated that Williams’ has an ability to transform her sound. Although there are moments that are reminiscent of Paramore, her new style is distinct. It’s scornful yet subdued. It balances between pop-rock and experimental alternative music.
Breakdown of EP:
What really stands out is Williams switch in vocals. She is much more relaxed, as much of the EP is done in a nimble whisper. It is a huge contrast from her normally booming vocals. A large part of that has to do with the tone of the album. She switches from a subdued anger to straight vulnerability.
About the Tracks:
The opening song “Simmer” demonstrates some of that anger with the verse, “If my child needed protection from a fuxker like that man // I’d sooner gut him, ’cause nothing cuts like a mother.” She emphasizes the word “fuxker” with a slightly raised voice. It’s sharp and harsh in its delivery and deviates from the relaxed whispering throughout the whole song. The overall song is haunting, yet soulful with pop undertones.
The most reminiscent to Paramore is “Sudden Desire.” It is very raw and sensual, but also very punk rock in its delivery. Punk rock with a twist basically. This song demonstrates why people love Williams. She hits those high notes with that booming voice that was mentioned earlier.
“Creepin‘” and “Cinnamon” are vastly different from the rest. “Cinnamon” is a light-hearted song. It is very playful and has a funk and blues tone, while “Creepin‘” is more avant-garde.
“Leave it alone” is the most vulnerable out of the EP. We get an inside into Williams’ uncertainty, loneliness, and anxieties. She speaks on her losses and how she’s dealt with death. It is easily the most personal song on the EP. Despite the seriousness of the topic, it is accompanied by her lovely soft vocals and an enjoyable melody. “Leave it alone” is painfully and beautifully vulnerable.
Williams did say that this album is going to cover various themes, which would explain why each song has a distinct message. Since it is only half the album, the album doesn’t flow yet. Every song on its own is enjoyable but there is a lack of consistency.
“I think, for me, it’s somewhat of a mantra to try and stay soft in a really, really hard world and feel pain and let all of it come to you and try and put out something that can redeem it all, even if it’s ugly at first, Williams says. “The lyric is “wrap yourself in petals for armor” because I kept feeling like the way for me to protect myself best is to be vulnerable and be OK with having a lot of pain at certain times and also feeling a lot of joy at certain times.”Hayley Williams to BBC Radio 1. Quote from AltPress.