The true confessions of a Paramore stan. Photo from billboard.com.
Up until the age of 11, my taste in music ran parallel with those who immediately surrounded me. I found comfort in my parents’ favorite artists, while still following popular pre-teen favorites and listening to Disney movie soundtracks. Then I heard the hit song “The Only Exception” by Paramore on the radio and music changed for me, and has never been the same since.
I remember scrolling through YouTube that same day and listening to all of Paramore’s releases, dating back to their peak of punk in 2005 with their debut album “All We Know Is Falling.” Hearing the voice of lead singer Hayley Williams combined with such intense instrumentals is my first memory of truly feeling moved by music. The songs were expressive and I fell in love with all of the musical layers, so much so that I started making music myself. Well, I started to play the drums on my Mom’s pots and pans, if that counts.
Naturally, I became “that kid” in middle school. I wore Doc Martens before they were cool, and spent most of my time in the t-shirt sections of Hot Topic and Journeys. Paramore became my entire personality, especially once they released their self-titled album. I begged my family to let me dye my hair neon orange and, of course, scoffed when they refused. If “Still Into You” started playing in public, I would delve into the band’s history and present myself as the Paramore expert.
I stopped flaunting the crackle nail polish and ripped black jeans by the end of eighth grade, fearing that high school wouldn’t approve of my style. Still, not a day went by where Paramore’s music wasn’t shuffling through my iPod.
During my teenage years, I fell back on Paramore’s music more than ever. Once I really started writing my own music, I noticed just how much of my inspiration came from Paramore’s lyrics. Entering high school, I was finally able to appreciate the depth of each song beyond the band’s punk facade.
Just take a look at some of these lyrics, and maybe you’ll see what I mean.
“It’s not that I don’t feel the pain, it’s just I’m not afraid of hurting anymore” and “for all the things that you’re alive to feel, just let the pain remind you hearts can heal” from their 2013 songs “Last Hope” and “Hate to See Your Heart Break” respectively.
“They say that dreaming is free, but I wouldn’t care what it cost me” and “I know that you’re afraid to let all the dark escape you, but we could let the light illuminate these hopeless places” from “26” and “Idle Worship” off their latest studio album “After Laughter.”
Throughout the years, Paramore’s style has turned farther away from their original punk sound, yet maintains the same instrumental and vocal complexity that they had at the beginning. Nearly a decade since my exposure to the band, I remain convinced that Williams is the greatest musician of her time. Of course, she would not be exceptional without the help of Zac Farro and Taylor York, who bring the music to life.
It’s been four years since Paramore’s last release as a band, yet they’ve been a mainstay amongst my top three Spotify artists every year. I still find hints of Paramore’s ingenuity in every song that I write, and I will always cherish their lyrics, which continue to motivate me through life’s ups and downs.
Every time I listen to a new artist, I think back to the car ride in 2013 where “The Only Exception” came on. I’m still waiting to relive the rare feeling that music instilled in me that day. I would not be the person that I am without the influence of Paramore, and I am anxiously awaiting more music from this iconic group.