Hayley Williams, of Paramore fame, has released a striking second addition to her solo career with Flowers for Vases/ descansos. Following the staggered release of her first solo album Petals for Armor last year, Williams drops the entirety of her new album at once and withdraws again, leaving us to digest 14 new songs at our leisure.
The new album has been written and performed entirely by Hayley Williams, including the instrumentals, in a career first for the singer-songwriter, who has been a centrepiece of the music industry since the mid-2000’s.
Created during the pandemic, Hayley also revealed that every note, song, and sound effect throughout the 42-minute album was made within her Nashville home, adding a layer of personal significance to an album that already draws the curtain back further on the Paramore frontwoman.
Almost entirely acoustic, Flowers for Vases/descansos muses on the death of relationships, grief, love and a turbulent childhood. Whereas the albums’ predecessor Petals for Armor boasted a wide range of musical styles and a plethora of themes, FFV takes the time to narrow the focus and properly explore Williams’s feelings of the past and present through song.
My Limb opens with the line “If you gotta amputate, don’t give me the tourniquet”, and compares losing someone of great significance to losing a limb. Asystole and Good Grief contemplate endings while keeping you hooked through intricate melodies and soft vocals. Before closing on the powerhouse of a song Just a Lover, the penultimate and titular Descansos takes a break from lyrics and lets the music speak for itself.
Williams described the new album as a “prequel or some sort of detour” between Part 1 and Part 2 of Petals for Armor, which saw themes of rage, femininity, and acceptance. The release of a second album is a huge celebration for many Paramore fans, although some criticism and worry has been voiced in a similar fashion to the release of her first album.
Plagued with rumours of a breakaway solo career ever since Paramore showed it’s first cracks a decade ago and suffered the loss of several band members, Hayley Williams was quick to repeat that Paramore were still together and she was excited to get to work on a new album with the band; which has been a trio consisting of Williams, Taylor York and Zac Farro since their last album release, After Laughter, in 2018.
Flowers for Vases/descansos was released with a note from Hayley Williams which summarises her experiences in the music industry and many changing genres for a huge variety of fans:
“Hope you enjoy FLOWERS for VASES/descansos. If you don’t, better luck next time.”
Flowers for Vases/descansos is available on most streaming platforms. It is written and performed by Hayley Williams.