After six years of Paramore’s members doing solid solo work and being away from each other as a band, they’ve crafted a sixth album, “This Is Why,” that takes all that anyone loved about them in the past and made it craggier and cattier, allowing themselves to face the concerns that come with age and social change without being heavy-handed about it. To that end, Paramore has probably made its best-ever album, or at least one that embraces present-day anxiety without fitting easily into any Hot Topic playlist.

Never truly content to be an atypical Fueled by Ramen band on the sad-sack, power-pop tip, Paramore did almost everything against mope-emo-type, save for jettisoning indignant lyrical outrage and melodic contagion when it came to crushingly catchy choruses. For five albums between 2005’s “All We Know Is Falling” and 2017’s “After Laughter,” lead vocalist Hayley Williams, guitarist Taylor York and drummer Zac Farro ran through shiny punk that swelled to synth-pop symphonia before calling it a day.  

For their return, it sounds like guitarist York and drummer Farro have dialed in their old Vic Chesnutt and Gang of Four albums, as every spiky riff and punchy drum snap here is jaggedly askew and rhythmically off-the beat. This angular architecture gives Paramore – even at its sleekest, as produced by Carlos de la Garza – a dirtball, post-punk energy that’s irresistible. Even during slower, meandering songs such as the mid-tempo “You First,” or“Figure 8,” with its Philip Glass-like backing track, it feels as if the entirely of what they’re up to is teetering and about to fall off its axis. 

This is most true of the new album’s title track, a complexly soulful number with a woozily psychedelic bridge and jazzy free rhythms that refuses to let go of its anthemic chorus. Between the aggressive guitar attack, its outrageously catchy chorus and Williams intoning “If you have an opinion / Maybe you should shove it / Or maybe you could scream it / Might be best to keep it / To yourself,” this song should be the open car window soundtrack of Spring 2023. 

Whether singing high and wide (her usual), lowering her octave for quavering effect (the R&B-ish “Running Out of Time”), or deadpanning her way through a prickly mess (“C’est Comme Ça”), vocalist Hayley Williams sounds as if she’s having a ball, acting like a cross between an uncheerful cheerleader and finger-pointing narrator. 

Pointing out the currency of lousiness that is “The News,” Williams wriggles her way through weary sonic breaks and memorable choruses with equitable levels of drama. Mixing existentialist screeds with some well placed “na-na-na-na-nas,” Williams rolls poker-faced through lyrics such as “I know that regression is rarely rewarded / I still need a certain degree of disorder / I hate to admit getting better is boring / But the high cost of chaos / Who can afford it?”

Speaking of chaos, the second half of “This Is Why” has less of an edge, lyrically and sonically, than its initial rapid-fire five-song salvo. Moments such as the calm but corrosive “Big Man, Little Dignity” and the softly acoustic “Liar” come closer to their earlier style of personalized storytelling told with power pop frippery. But closing out “This Is Why” with the whisper-to-screaming, swelling ambience of “Thick Skull,” and its busted-down “magnet for broken people” lyricism, you get the feeling that Hayley Williams and the rest of Paramore are still looking more outwardly than inwardly — that the wisdom of age has left them wanting for more, and questioning all. And that’s a great look for Paramore.