Hayley Williams – Petals For Armor (Album Review)

Hayley WilliamsPetals For Armor
Released: May 8th 2020

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Before I start this review, I know what you’re all thinking, “Hey, haven’t you already reviewed this?” And you’d be right, I have, you can check it out here — but that was only the first part of this record. Petals For Armor is actually a full length album that was released as two EP’s before the full length came into the world, which if you ask me, I strongly believe was a smart decision. It gave fans a taste of what was to come and then by waiting just that little bit longer before releasing Petals For Armor II, and then even longer for the full album, it continued to give listeners just a little treat and continue their excitement for the upcoming release.

I have personally listened to this record pretty much non stop since it was put out and I have so many thoughts on it that it has taken a hot minute for me to be able to put them into words, but let’s get into it shall we? I’ll start with the tracks that I haven’t covered in my previous review, which starts at ‘Dead Horse’ and I’ll be honest, this is one of the most catchy songs and I cannot for the life of me stop singing it to myself as I’m working away for 12 hours and constantly cleaning things. It is such a raw and honest song to the point that you’re able to tell exactly the context of the lyrics and what it’s about instantly without needing to go into too much detail. The beginning of the track always strikes me with how vulnerable Williams is being in these tracks as there is a spoken part which says “Alright, it’s taken three days to send this.. uhhh, sorry! But I was in a depression and I’m trying to come out of it now” and then proceeds into one of the most happy and bouncy tracks that I’ve heard in a while, and honestly the duality of sadness and happiness that is produced into a three minute song is just perfection.

‘Over Yet’ is another one of my favourite songs from the record as again, it was something that just spoke to me personally and I found it to be another vulnerable track that has a strong tone of positivity and the lyrics were just something that connected with me, which I always love whenever I hear any record and honestly I think any music lover could agree with me on that — having something that you can connect to makes it just that much more special. There’s not much more that I can say about this one, aside from it being one that I feel connected to and I feel like many, many more people will feel the same way.

I will say, however, that the next track, ‘Roses/Lotus/Violet/Iris’ is another one that I enjoy, but it’s not my preferred. I find that the words in the chorus are just repeated so many times and a little bit too often for me and with the already slower tempo of the song, it just makes it feel as though it goes on a little bit long. It is a five minute long song but it’s just a bit… too much the same for too long for my taste. However some of Hayley’s famously perfect high notes are hit during this though, which does always make me very happy. I always do love the smooth high notes that she just belts out.

‘Pure Love’ is a fucking fantastic song, to be honest with you all. I know that I have continually said throughout this review that there’s a certain raw, vulnerable and honest side to these tracks, but this is another one that proves just how much Hayley is sharing with the world. It is something that I think speaks truth to everyone no matter what perspective you choose to take it in. It’s another song where it’s easy to understand the context of what is being spoken about without needing to make up any theories about “oh I wonder what or who this is about” and having rumours circulate and that is something so beautiful, when a musician is that talented in writing a song where you can immediately understand their thought process and how they felt in the moment of those words being written out.

Now I won’t spoil the whole record for all of you but I will talk about one final song that I am absolutely in love with, which is ‘Sugar On The Rim’. HELLO 70’S THROWBACK! I’m not one to love disco music and I’m sure most of you who are reading this probably don’t see the appeal in disco music either but this modern take on a classic style just showcases that Williams is really a chameleon when it comes to creating music. I can practically already envisage the film clip for it already if there ever were to be one.

My final thoughts when it comes to this release is that it is something that is raw, real and almost ripped pages from a deeply personal journal through hardships that have happened over a few years and they’re finally ready to be produced into something beautiful. Hayley Williams has once again proven that she is more than just “that Paramore chick” as I’ve heard people refer to her has before. She is her own person and own artist and Paramore is still a band. This is clear that it is a side project to release music and sounds that would never fit the catalogue of Paramore’s music (and I firmly believe that if these songs were put out under the Paramore name, they would be heavily criticised for it). It’s so wonderful to see this track list where every single sound on every single song is absolutely something different every time. No two songs sound as though they are like the previous and they all have a different personal story to tell.

I highly recommend people listen to Petals For Armor as it’s something fresh and fun and it’s just a really wonderful album. I give it a solid 9/10. The creative vision behind this whole record and the creative vision of the music videos to support the songs is just absolutely mind-blowing and I believe this is really something special.

hayley williams petals

Hayley Williams Petals For Armor Tracklisting:

  1. Simmer
  2. Leave It Alone
  3. Cinnamon
  4. Creepin’
  5. Sudden Desire
  6. Dead Horse
  7. My Friend
  8. Over Yet
  9. Roses/Lotus/Violet/Iris
  10. Why We Ever
  11. Pure Love
  12. Taken
  13. Sugar On The Rim
  14. Watch Me While I Bloom
  15. Crystal Clear

Rating: 9/10
Petals For Armor is out now through Warner Music. Get it here
Review By Heather McNab

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