Hayley Williams’ debut solo album is raw and vulnerable yet represents power and strength; a juxtaposition showcased by the title.
Petals for Armor sees a maturity from William’s earlier work in the angsty, pop-punk band, Paramore, to a solo artist exploring emotion, femininity, and clarity.
As well as the ten songs from its preceding EP’s, the full version showcases five new tracks.
The album opens with ‘Simmer’, the first single which teased the album and the new era for William’s music back in January. She starts by snarling: “rage is a quiet thing” over a dark, synth-pop beat before jumping into an ominous and disorientating bridge where she whispers, “wrap yourself in petals”.
‘Over yet’ has a bouncy, 80’s vibe with Madonna-esque vocals, a fresh approach to its surrounding, more mellow tracks such as ‘leave it alone’ and ‘why we ever’, two slower songs with personal lyrics.
As expected, some tracks do have a similar feel to Paramore’s 2017 album, After Laughter, which saw the band delve into a new-wave, synth sound. ‘Cinnamon’, an artistic exploration of warped backing vocals and a heavier beat, is a prime example of her Paramore roots shining through.
The floral theme, in tracks such as ‘Roses/Lotus/Violet/Iris’ and ‘Watch Me While I Bloom’ can seem a little overplayed. Yet the message is understandable; Williams’ empowers her fragility – like a flower, as cliché as that may be.
‘Watch Me While I Bloom’, starts spine-chillingly raw as she sings “how lucky I feel to be in my body again”, before the bouncy pop number fully kicks in.
The album is an assortment of style and genre. From the opening lyrics, “rage is a quiet thing” in ‘Simmer’, through to the optimistic ending of ‘Crystal Clear’, Petals for Armor is a journey to clarity from the former teenage punk icon.