In 2007 when Paramore’s breakout album Riot was released, hit song “Misery Business” was undoubtedly at the top of every punk lover’s iPod playlist, going triple platinum in the United States just a little over a month after its release. Now, ten years later, lead singer Hayley Williams is taking some heat after the song was accused of having anti-feminist lyrics, and the singer is tackling the criticism head on. In a full interview with Track 7, Williams offers an explanation of what the song meant back then, and what it means to her now.
“The thing that annoyed me,” she said, “was that I had already done so much soul-searching about it, years before anyone else had decided there was an issue. When the article began circulating, I sort of had to go and rehash everything in front of everybody. It was important, however, for me to show humility in that moment. I was a 17 year old kid when I wrote the lyrics in question and if I can somehow exemplify what it means to grow up, get information, and become any shade of ‘woke’, then that’s a-okay with me.”
She continues, “[The lyrics] literally came from a page in my diary. What I couldn’t have known at the time was that I was feeding into a lie that I’d bought into, just like so many other teenagers – and many adults – before me. The whole, ‘I’m not like the other girls’ thing… this ‘cool girl’ religion. What even is that? Who are the gatekeepers of ‘cool’ anyway? Are they all men? Are they women that we’ve put on top of an unreachable pedestal?
“For whatever reason, I believe I was supposed to have written those backwards words and I was supposed to learn something from them,” she continues. “It’s made me more compassionate toward other women, who maybe have social anxieties… and toward younger girls who are at this very moment learning to cope and to relate and to connect. We’re all just trying our damnedest. It’s a lot easier when we have support and community with each other. Vulnerability helps lay the foundation for all that.”
Earlier in 2015, the singer left Paramore in pursuit of more meaning and other interests after her battle with depression, stating “There’s gotta be something else I’m good at in this life.”
After focusing on her mental health, Hayley Williams was welcomed back with open arms after fans missed the blonde beauty’s raw talent and incredible pipes. Now, the band has released their fifth studio album this year entitled After Laughter and announced “Tour Two” dates for fall of this year. Next year, Paramore will be sailing the ocean blue for their third Parahoy! Festival, where they sail from Miami to the Bahamas on a cruise ship filled with live music sets from the group and more.