Hayley Williams – FLOWERS for VASES / descansos (Album Review)

Hayley Williams – FLOWERS for VASES / descansos
Released: February 5, 2021

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Well well, almost a year to the date after Hayley Williams dropped Petals For Armor I (EP) for all of us to enjoy, she dropped a full ass fuckin album and let me tell you it’s actually not what I expected. Could I have written a review immediately and had it ready for release an hour after the record went live? Yes, absolutely, it’s Hayley Williams’ music we’re talking about here, and to those who don’t know me as well as some others, I’ve been a Paramore fan since I was in primary school at the ripe old age of 11, and have two tattoos based on their music, so it’s safe to say that the first thing I wanted to do as soon as I heard the music was talk about it. But this time, I actually needed to sit with it for a minute, and I don’t mean that in a bad way either. I just really needed to sit with it and soak it in.

This album was entirely recorded at home, written, performed and all instruments played were by Williams herself, which let’s be honest, is just incredible (considering she’s not known for it).

‘First Thing To Go’ is the opening track that really sets the tone of what to expect and what we know from the previous solo music we’ve heard, I was thinking something similar would follow, but no, not at all. It’s actually a very soft, acoustic song that I would say in terms of genre, it’s without a doubt a mellow indie vibe. Boasting vocals that are as soft as butter, it’s so far the opposite of what I had assumed when I heard that Hayley Williams was dropping an album. I really enjoyed this song as it is just beautiful and gentle.

‘My Limb’ is probably about as upbeat as this record gets, I’ll be honest and I mean that with absolutely no disrespect. This is actually one of my absolute favourite tracks that’s on the album because it is just slightly upbeat with an angelic soft voice and a guitar tune that resembles a sound to ‘Decode’. It is catchy and I want to listen to it on repeat. But considering this is probably the most upbeat of tracks, I will say that if you’re not into acoustic, mellow, indie artists or that kind of sound, then keep that in mind when listening. Of course I think everyone should listen to this and hear what is on offer, but it is not what you’d expect.

My next favourite song is ‘Trigger’ and man, this one really gets the feelings going. Raw feelings about wanting to trust and love someone but never knowing if you’ll get hurt. Haven’t we all felt that before in our lives? I know I have. I know that normally I’m quite descriptive in how the song sounds and how it makes you feel but honestly, this one is just… what I feel like someone needs to experience. It’s a track that you just need to sit and listen to and just enjoy.

Truly I could speak about every song and much I love it, but then I know that I would just be talking forever and there’s only a certain way that I can describe these songs and how happy, calm and at peace they make me feel without just highly encouraging you all to go and listen to it for yourselves.

All in all, I personally love the direction that FLOWERS for VASES / descansos follows. It’s truly something special, and no, I am not saying that because of bias due to the artist. I just really feel like this is a record that you could play if you wanted some soft peaceful music while going on a coastal road trip, or something to listen to while having a bubble bath, or just in general. It’s definitely far more mellow and gentle than I have ever really heard Hayley Williams perform, except those little acoustic gems we’ve heard over the years, but this is it at its prime. You know how everyone goes on and on and on about Folklore from Taylor Swift? This is that, but for emo kids. This is the kind of record that I could fall asleep to, or put on when I feel anxious or panicked and I would just feel this sense of calm come back to me. The gentle nature of the songs themselves and the way it’s being sung, almost feels like — if you close your eyes — someone’s sitting with you in a room and just singing to you, like a mother softly sings to their child. The beauty that is this album makes me so happy and I truly have been listening to it on repeat in my car in the mornings and at night both driving to work and home from work.

I know many readers probably are out to hear about amazing new punk music, but please trust me on this. If you have the ability, I suggest turning off your lights in your house, lighting a scented candle of your choice (if you enjoy that) and just listen. Do something that gives you great joy and do that, uninterrupted — lay outside in the sun. Take a bubble bath. Bake cookies. Anything that makes you happy — and have this record play.

Hayley Williams – FLOWERS for VASES / descansos tracklisting:

FLOWERS for VASES / descansos Tracklist

  1. First Thing To Go
  2. My Limb
  3. Asystole
  4. Trigger
  5. Over Those Hills
  6. Good Grief
  7. Wait On
  8. KYRH
  9. Inordinary
  10. HYD
  11. No Use I Just Do
  12. Find Me Here
  13. Descansos
  14. Just A Lover

Rating: 9/10
FLOWERS for VASES / descansos is out now. Check it out here
Review by Heather McNab

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