Now Listening – Petals for Armor

Hayley Williams, one of the best vocalists out there, frontwoman of Paramore, absolute force and certified badass, released her first solo album Petals for Armor this month. After releasing Part I and Part II over the past few months, the full-length album can be found everywhere starting May 8th. To give a bit of context, I’ve been a fan of Hayley’s since around 2006 and have known she’s been against being a solo artist and releasing music under her own name since the band’s inception. But, man, am I glad she did this despite the speculations of what this means for the future of Paramore. She has, of course, Taylor York as producer, Joey Howard, and Carlos de la Garza behind her.

Hayley has said herself this was a very personal project and that it was a necessary part of her healing process.

Photo by Lindsey Byrnes

Petals for Armor is an album about vulnerability as strength, forgiveness, and anger. This isn’t just a 15-track breakup album. Not only is it incredibly relevant, it’s diverse, raw, and a bit unexpected in terms of style and inspiration. Some songs like “Sugar on the Rim” are just so amazingly groovy while others are more quiet, but the album as a whole still feels like a complete narrative starting with the 100% appropriately named “Simmer” and wrapping up with “Crystal Clear,” a refreshing and ethereal love song which contains music from her grandfather’s “Friends or Lovers” in the outro.

Directed by Warren Fu

Without even needing to my Spotify Top Songs of 2020 playlist, I know “Cinnamon” will be at least in the top five, if not number one. “Eat my breakfast in the nude/lemon water, living room/Home is where I’m feminine/smells like citrus and cinnamon.” “Why We Ever” has pulled on my heartstrings a bit more than I can handle lately, but is beautifully put together. So is “Watch Me While I Bloom” which took me by surprise and has one of the most powerfully sung first lines, “How lucky I feel to be in my body again.” Perhaps one of the most candid and catchy songs on the album, “Dead Horse,” directly references her relationship and divorce. It’s accompanied by a video directed by Zac Farro (although I can’t mention this video without also mentioning Lindsey Byrnes as creative director). All this to say if you haven’t dedicated at least a full day to appreciate each and every minute of this project, you’re missing out.

Read some of my favorite Petals for Armor interviews here:

In Conversation: Hayley Williams – Vulture

Hayley Williams Breaks Down Every Song on Her Deeply Personal Solo Album, Petals for Armor – Pitchfork

Hayley Williams in NYLON

  1. Taylor

    May 15, 2020 at 1:33 pm

    Thank you for writing this! I was mesmerized the first time I listened to the album all the way through. I don’t know if you experienced this but when she first released Cinnamon (which is a favorite track of mine too!) and then I listened to Simmer I had this weird sense of deja vu? It felt like the songs were somehow woven together but maintained their separate identities at the same time. Thank you for sharing names of creatives and directors I wouldn’t have otherwise known! And I got a bit emotional too knowing her grandfather is featured in the outro of the last song on the record <3

    1. admin

      May 15, 2020 at 7:46 pm

      I’m so glad you listened to it!! Totally agree! That part of my favorite Crystal Clear is so so gorgeous. If you haven’t already caught it, there’s the coolest little musical reference to Sudden Desire in Taken. It’s just all so good!

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