Hayley Williams embraces change at every turn and this is beautifully displayed in her debut solo project Petals for Armor I.
Known for her powerful vocals, bright hair and electric stage presence as the lead singer of Paramore, Hayley Williams has finally released her debut solo in the form of a mysterious, groovy EP. It’s clear from the direction of Paramore that she and her band members aren’t afraid of change, especially notable through their music development over the years. From pop-punk to 80’s inspired. Petals for Armor I is no exception, its full of charms unique to Hayley and sets her apart from the crowd.
Simmer was the first single released on the EP, and for good reason. The song introduces her audience to the direction of her upcoming work: it's different and unapologetic. The song is mysterious, groovy, and features Hayley’s gorgeous raspy vocals. The song, which follows her personal journey of rage and underlying anger, allows Williams to focus on her lower register which helps serve its narrative purpose. It creates a mysterious, sensual groove, the feeling of something bubbling under the surface.
Leave it Alone
Much more subdued, with limited instrumentation supporting Hayley’s mellow vocals, Leave it Alone is about grief. The lyrics talk about people she has lost, and feelings surrounding those experiences. It is a continuation of Simmer, as Hayley deals with the anger and demons from the previous track. Leave it Alone cements the new stylistic choices and sounds present in this EP. It is distinct from her previous work and stands on its own two feet.
Immediately you’re drawn into the fun atmosphere of Cinnamon. It brings something new to the mellow sounds of the EP whilst keeping the mysterious nature. The lyrics aren’t the entire focus on this piece, mainly being instrumentation and Hayley’s oohs and ahhs throughout which sound a-kin to horror film laughter. This creates a really interesting song fit for dancing.
Creepin’ continues the more upbeat nature of Cinnamon but has sinister elements expressed through electronic vocals and mysterious lyrics. The bass is strong and her vocals are raspy, holding an air of mystery. The song sonically continues the atmosphere of mystery: of being trapped under a veil of smoke which is finally lifted in the final song of the EP.
There is a sense of familiarity in the pop-punk tones throughout Sudden Desire which is both comforting and electric. It is the first song to really break through the held back, mysterious nature of the entire EP. Sudden Desire centres around feelings of lust and Hayley lets her higher range open up the song beautifully. This is especially satisfying since the first four songs which use just her lower range. The chorus especially feels like it breaks away from the sonic quality of the rest of the EP. It is dark, and gritty, and full of passion.
This EP feels like an introduction to something bigger from Hayley Williams: something new. Petals for Armor I is certainly a promising solo debut, Hayley opens herself up to sounds different from ever before, and it pays off. As she continues to challenge herself and her music, the result is unique music which sets her apart as a solo artist.