‘Petals For Armor’ by Hayley Williams [Album Review]

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I know I had my misgivings about this album coming out because so much had been released before hand but here we are, talking about it anyway because I feel like it. Plus, there are five new tracks to look at so at least there’s something new to dig into.

Obviously I won’t be talking about all of this album since it’s more like three EPS stuck together and I already talked about the previous releases. Here’s a list of those links so you can check them out if you want to:

Highlights

Even on my first listen through Pure Love I loved the part at the end when Williams had these raspy vocals which really go with the feeling of having to draw emotion from herself in order to connect with this new person she has in her life. There’s a lot of hurt throughout this album but this last installment is more about moving on and finding ways of being her own person again. This sound does a good job of both being fun and having that rawness to it that carries into later songs.

Williams does this fun thing in Taken where she sings on the ‘n’ in “taken”. For those that don’t sing, most singers draw out vowels because they’re more open so it’s easier to get a nice sound whereas consonants tend to be more closed–except nasals like ‘n’ and ‘m’ which resonate through the nose. Singing on those nasals add a fun edge to the phrase that reminds me a lot of pop singers from the 80’s.

The first time I heard Sugar On The Rim I fell in love with the electronic-based percussion that is in the chorus. It’s super dancey and has those retro vibes that I’ve really been enjoying throughout this whole journey of the album.

I think what makes this album so compelling is that Williams seems like she’s having fun again. That’s not to say that there isn’t anything upbeat about her previous music but there was always this jaded undertone–something she talks a bit about in an interview on Beats 1. Whereas this album feels like she is finally moving on–and not without snags–to something that will make her happy instead of doing what she thinks is expected of her.

Low Points

I was a bit disappointed with Watch Me While I Bloom not because I don’t think it’s a good song but because it instantly reminded me of Cinnamon from earlier in the record. Because that song was also on the first EP, I’ve listened to it quite a few times now and know it well enough that this one felt like a cheap copy. Not only is the subject matter similar but the vocal melody and instrumentation has enough similarities for me to not be able to separate the two of them well enough to listen to Watch Me While I Bloom without drawing this connection.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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I was expecting to enjoy this album but I wasn’t expecting to be bopping along as much as I have been. It didn’t even take that many listens to the last part before I was dancing along.

I think overall, this is a really enjoyable album with some amazing bass riffs and compelling storytelling.

Do I think it’s perfect? Nope. Do I think it’s the best Williams has ever done? Not a chance. But it’s a lot of fun and there’s this unflinching passion to it that draws you in.

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