Hayley Williams – Tiny Desk (Home) Concert

With her debut solo album out earlier this year, Hayley Williams took off from planet Paramore and made it known she was a force to be reckoned with as a solo artist, as well.

To be clear, “Petals For Armor” will absolutely appear on the Grindthieves year end list, and there’s more than small chance it’ll take the coveted Album Of The Year title for 2020 here at headquarters.

From the write-up/description that accompanies Williams’ first solo Tiny Desk Concert:

“I’ve never done this without Paramore,” Hayley Williams announces during her Tiny Desk (home) concert. For the first time in months, she’s joined by a band, including friends and Tiny Desk alumnae Julien Baker and Becca Mancari. And from the moment the camera pans out of a literal tiny desk diorama, a jolt of energy leaps from Williams.

Petals for Armor is a soul-cleansing exhale from years of holding her breath. Originally released in a series of EPs, her solo debut sings through heartache in a tangle of triumph and hard-earned wisdom. It’s a pop album that knows sadness can simmer, but also shout over an ever-shifting sonic palette. During the pandemic and protests, Williams has played these songs from her couch with muted restraint, and self-serenaded with acoustic covers — sad songs really can be sympathetic companions during dark days.

But in her home, surrounded by blank canvases, Williams and friends splash a bottled-up energy. The joy is infectious, as “Pure Love” bursts from first bloom, “Taken” shows off Baker’s jazzy-funk licks and Williams leans into the “Dead Horse” kiss-off with gleeful abandon.

It’s clear Hayley Williams is enjoying the opportunity to perform for people again and has undeniable energy with the session musicians accompanying her for this short 10 minute performance. Stripped down, a little rough around the edges, fun energy and improv treatments here and there – this is a spectacular effort from Williams’ that we will be returning to time and again here at Grindthieves HQ.

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