Hayley Williams lets us have a look into her soul with “Petals for Armor”, the debut full length
Hayley Williams has turned me into a dancing queen in quarantine with her debut full length as a solo artist dropping today, Petals for Armor. A record that serves some serious soul, honesty and the danciest of tracks that scream Madonna in the best of ways. The album is a wild ride but one I was there for every step of the way. There’s a song on the album for everyone. In still creating coverage in these last two months or so, the word on everyone’s lips that I’ve talked to or seen talk to about their albums is that art is our armor. And for Williams’ it was quite literally her armor it seems. The album is beyond honest into what Williams’ has been dealing with these past few years, but her incredibly heartfelt lyrics are cloaked in dancy beats and total R&B feels on at least half the album.
To be expected, I mean this is Hayley Wiliams after all, a woman who made you fall in love after the first time you saw her long loved act Paramore live. Her live energy is flawless, rambunctious, and she connects so well with her audience. The album provides the goofiness in Madonna-esque numbers like Sugar on the Rim, Cinnamon and Over Yet. I think it’s a different side of Williams that we haven’t fully gotten to see before, but also Williams is in a completely different point in her life with this album. I’m sure the album was something long in the works for Williams but it is an honest look into depression, divorce, but also shows her not being afraid to be honest about maybe her indescretations too. And it just shows Williams’ strength. Even choosing to make the track one of the tracks she chose to make a video for, a video that came out today directed by her bandmate Zac Farro. The love and support from her band was strong with this release, be it Farro directing the video for Dead Horse, as well as Taylor York co-producing the record with Williams.
It takes an incredibly strong person to openly deal with something that has bothered her for years, and it was a relationship that was very public. With the spoken word opening of Dead Horse, Williams says, “Alright, it took me three days to send you this, but uh, sorry I was in a depression but I’m trying to come out of it now.” And the honesty continues on with, “I was the other woman first but are there others on the line but I kept trying to make it work”. Williams’ lyrics are a huge strength on this album and sneaks some seemingly desolate and heart-breaking lyrics in to the more upbeat tracks like “for every darkened part of me” into a track that keeps you dancing the whole time like Over Yet or “your fingerprints on my skin, a painful reminder” in Sudden Desire. Then when it comes to the more slowed down tracks, the lyrics are what make that song hit the hardest like with Leave It Alone and Roses/Lotus/Violet/Iris with beautiful metaphors like “I myself was a wilted woman” in the latter.
This record overall is an incredible debut record and one that will be majorly played for me over these next few days. It’s exactly the record that people need in these times as we all battle our own demons and are separated from our loved ones. Ending on an ethereal note with Crystal Clear, the album is a true masterpiece and an incredibly honest view into someone whose life has been splashed all over the music industry, both personal and public, and continues to be one of the most endearing humans the alternative music world has gotten to enjoy.