Hayley Williams Petals For Armor Album Review
Hayley Williams has ventured away from fronting Paramore to try her hand with a solo adventure. Petals For Armor is an extension of her Paramore work especially their most recent record After Laughter where Williams opened up her vulnerable side. However, here there’s no gloss as Williams gives fans raw access to her vulnerable side covering topics from her marriage ending to her mental health.
Petals For Armor was released in an interesting way which also reflects the album’s structure. Williams staggered the release into three thought-provoking 5-track eps. Two of these sections had already been released. Due to these structures, this review will be different. Instead of reviewing the alum as a whole, I’m gonna be reviewing it in sections as each five-track section has its own story to tell.
Petals For Armor I
Opener and lead single Simmer that lyrically deals with living with an internal rage and the abuse the women in her family have endured. The instrumentals have a looseness to them as they almost bridge the gap between After Laughter and Petals For Armor, as Williams carves a new identity outside of the band. Leave It Alone is a gentle track of her fear of losing loved ones. The lyrics are both haunting and moving against gentle guitars. Cinnamon is a change of pace, filled with kinetic energy in this ode to her current home. The funk-infused instrumental experimental here is continued on Creepin’ a tack that begins ominously before divulging fun bop with ominous lyrics.
Creepin’ is paired perfectly with the last track in this section Sudden Desire. The former about wanting another taste while Sudden Desire is a lust-fuelled track with elements of regret. The two play off each other brilliantly with Sudden Desire featuring a reminder of Williams’ powerful vocals.
Petals For Armor II
Dead Horse opens up ‘part II’ and is a stand out on the album. Here Williams lays out her past marriage openly as well as her depression with the opening ‘skit’. The lyrics see her admitting and owning her judgments. This openness is covered with African-styled jazz harmony. The chorus is catchy and fills the track with brightness.
Going from one relationship ending to thanking the ones she still has. My Friend is a dedication to her closest friends who’ve stuck by her throughout her ups and downs. This is the track; I connect with the most on the album. Friendship is something Williams values and treasures, with her Paramore bandmates also having involvement in her solo work, either y accompanying the writing, recording, and even producing the much of the album.
Over Yet, continues the experiments with an 80s dance synth track, that gets the body moving. Another standout track about not giving up. Things go from synth to strings with Roses/Lotus/Violet/Iris a daydreamy track that portrays a portrait of femininity with the garden metaphors. The track also features Boygenius, the supergroup consisting of Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus. Why We Ever visits a lost love in a haunting and emotional track that mirrors Green Day’s Whatsername in reflecting on love, regret, and the what-if of it all.
Petals For Armor III
While the first two parts have been reflecting on the past, Pure Love looks to the future of new relationships and romance. Pure Love encapsulates this perfectly with incredible vocals and an upbeat funk. That funk continues on Taken which explores getting into a new relationship after suffering from a broken heart. Sugar on the Rim is a stand out due to the fact it doesn’t sound like Williams. At first, I thought this was a duet with Madonna as it has her gloss over the track. This track is good but there’s a bit too much going on to get a clear read on the track. Watch Me While I Bloom is a stripped-back bass funk. Here Williams talks about being free to reveal her true self to everyone who thinks they know her. Petals For Armor concludes with Crystal Clear a cleansing track that can encapsulate the whole album. A track that reflects on the past and looks to the future of love, her career, and the unknown.
Petals For Armor is a wonderful introduction to a new era of Hayley Williams. The album also gives us a raw, uncut look into Williams’ life, with even the cover highlighting this concept perfectly. The three-act structure works perfectly for the narrative Williams told through the album.
- Petals For Armor I
- Petals for Armor II
- Petals For Armor III
Petals For Armor is a wonderful introduction to a new era of Hayley Williams.