Hayley Williams – Flowers for Vases / Descansos
Hayley Williams’s new album Flowers for Vases exhibits plenty of lyrical repetition – a reflection on how one can fluctuate between varying emotions after the loss of love. Her ingenuity shines in the many different metaphors used to convey the experience of moving on. The record incorporates desperation, temptation, desire and late lamentations, all wrapped up in the back-and-forth between acceptance and regret.
The listener is greeted by an acoustic snap into the track list with First Thing to Go. Williams’ voice is stripped back and sturdy, just vulnerable enough to express sadness without losing its footing. My Limb is dark and spiteful, her controlled anger demonstrated in the scathing lyrics and the vivid imagery of anatomy and amputation. The words “my limb” are sung in various vocal styles amid production echoes, accompanied by a quiet whisper of “don’t let go”.
Following the musically and vocally passive-aggression of the first three tracks, Trigger is more mellow. Sadness bleeds through the light and whimsical rhythm of the song, which is the perfect complement to one of Paramore’s previous tracks, The Only Exception. Its chorus is the first time the album holds two people accountable for the downfall of the relationship.
Williams’ quavering voice vibrates with a subtle synthetic reverb in Good Grief. The dissonance between the vocal arrangement, the piano, and the strum of the guitar is disorientating, highlighting the disconnect between the singer and the melody. Wait On is altogether lighter, serving as a reminder that life goes on, with a morbid sense of hope lingering in the lyrics.
As the closer, Just a Lover encompasses every peak of emotion that the rest of the record tries to convey, and weighs heavy with sorrow and nostalgia. Overall, the album, filled with simple acoustic tunes, is brilliant and sensual. It is enhanced by the production, which provides atmosphere and creates tone to accompany the heavy emotion Williams injects into each and every line.
Flowers for Vases / Descansos is released on 5th February 2021. For further information or to order the album visit Hayley Williams’s website here.
Listen to the official audio for the single Trigger here: