The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music's Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It's the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.
"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.
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