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story.lead_photo.caption This cover image released by Atlantic Records shows "Petals for Armor" by Hayley Williams. The Paramore frontwoman is releasing her solo debut album on Friday. (Atlantic Records via AP)

One of the most gifted emo graduates, Paramore frontwoman Hayley Williams spent a decade firmly restating that she was no solo act. They even sold shirts saying, "Paramore Esta Una Banda."

But the band themselves evolved so much — from pop-punk to Wall of Sound productions to Paradise Garage-inspired '80s, and with a lineup change on every record — that this belated rebranding and its curveballs won't shock anyone. (It's coproduced with Paramore guitarist Taylor York.)

Yet it's Williams' biggest leap from previous territory.

Her singing has absorbed the hushed shrugs of Billie Eilish, sung over the high-mixed drums of clattering latter-day Radiohead. Unusual R&B-influenced song shapes invite '90s folk-jazz comparisons. A funky Suzanne Vega?

Two winners, "Taken" and "Sugar on the Rim," have the mark of Erykah Badu and Lady Gaga, respectively, while the broken beat of early highlight "Cinnamon" has roots in St. Vincent.

Give a onetime genius for obvious hooks her props. She's gone subtle without turning dull. 

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