GRAMMY® Award-winning artist Hayley Williams has unveiled “PETALS FOR ARMOR I,” a special five-track collection heralding her much anticipated debut solo album, PETALS FOR ARMOR. “PETALS FOR ARMOR I” is available now for streaming and download HERE. PETALS FOR ARMOR arrives via Atlantic Records on Friday, May 7th.
“PETALS FOR ARMOR I” includes the previously released songs, “Simmer,” “Leave It Alone,” alongside three new songs including the beat-driven new track, “Cinnamon,” which is joined by an official companion video streaming now via Williams’s official YouTube channel. Directed by Warren Fu (Paramore, The 1975, The Strokes), “Cinnamon” marks the latest chapter in an ongoing storyline begun with “Simmer,” forwarded in an exclusive “Interlude” video, continued in “Leave It Alone” and a second “Interlude”, and now, “Cinnamon.”
“There are a lot of themes covered on the album as a whole and I thought it best to separate some of these themes so that there can be time for everyone to digest some of the songs before we move along to others,” Hayley explains of releasing “PETALS FOR ARMOR I.” “It’s a way to include people on the journey in the same way that I experienced it.”
Produced by Taylor York, Williams’s lead collaborator in the GRAMMY® Award-winning Paramore, PETALS FOR ARMOR was first heralded last month by the acclaimed single, “Simmer,” available now at all DSPs and streaming services; the smoldering track arrived alongside its own Warren Fu-directed video, streaming now via the Paramore singer and founder of haircare and color company Good Dye Young’s official YouTube channel HERE.
The announcement of PETALS FOR ARMOR was followed by the first live performance of “Simmer” on BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge, along with a cover of “Don’t Start Now” by Dua Lipa. “Simmer” was met by critical applause, with Vulture declaring it to be “a seamless synthesis of dark guitar pop and chilly electronics that’s both sedate and exciting…The new song is both a radical shift in dynamics for Williams and a cleverly subtle opening salvo from a singer stepping outside the confines of her flagship.” NPR hailed the track's “dark synths, sparse guitar and front-end mix of electronic and live drums,” noting “‘Simmer’ forms a thundercloud, quietly seething… Williams has long been simultaneously open and guarded, someone who can write about pain, depression and yearning with diaristic specificity, but who still keeps the deepest hurts next to the chest.” “Its neck hair-raising groove comes from the whispering guitar courtesy of Paramore guitarist Taylor York, who imbues the midnight playground with an intense fog,” wrote MTV. “Williams’s soft vocals add to the intensity as she sings about a wide range of emotions like rage and contempt.” “Simmer” is “dark and brooding, full of gasps and mutters,” wrote the UK’s Independent. “Williams increases the tension like a piece of thread drawn tight, ready to snap.” “A dark and twisted pop curveball, ‘Simmer’ throws any history in the bin and starts afresh down a path of left-field pop music,” raved NME. “The main feeling is of newness, and ‘Simmer’ serves as a clean slate that shows Hayley Williams to be capable of producing a whole different kind of wonder.”
“Leave It Alone” followed and is available now at all DSPs and streaming services HERE, along with the track’s official Warren Fu-directed video HERE. Like its predecessor, the track was greeted by unanimous acclaim around the world, with The FADER writing, “Where ‘Simmer’ smoldered at the edge of total rage, ‘Leave It Alone’ captures Williams at a more contemplative and inconclusive place.” “The gentle breaths, the warmth in her shaky voice, the poignant lyricism about loss that chills your bones,” wrote MTV. “Hayley Williams' new single, ‘Leave It Alone,’ is an emotionally raw taste of her new era, focused on not necessarily death itself, but losing what you hold dear.” “Over the gentle guitar, Williams sings quietly about the anxieties she has about losing someone before she's ready,” declared NYLON. “It's a much more subdued version of pop artist than we've seen in the past, but her words cut just as much intimately…. It’s unclear where the journey she's taking us on is headed, but it's already evident that it'll be a revealing one.”