Paramore is a band known across different genres. From punk to alternative to pop, it’s hard to find a person who can’t sing along to at least one Paramore hit. But now the band has taken a different direction as Hayley Williams, the lead singer, has left for now to create her own solo project.
Paramore is known for songs like “Ain’t It Fun”, “Misery Business” and “Still Into You” among many others. The band has toured with big names such as “Fall Out Boy” and were featured on the 2005 Vans Warped Tour. Paramore has gone far beyond these accomplishments, now featuring their own yearly cruise called Parahoy!
The cruise features all things Paramore such as Q&As with the band, performances from Paramore and others, and even regular cruise events. It’s a must for any die-hard Paramore fan.
Alas though, all of the fun has come to a halt. After the band’s “After Laughter” album and tour, Paramore announced on September 4, 2019, on its social media, that the band will be taking a break “to just be” after 15 years of making music and touring.
Fans were upset but understood that the band deserved this time for a break and for themselves. Though miraculously enough, fans didn’t have to wait too long for new music. Just not exactly from Paramore itself.
On Jan. 22, Williams released her new single and music video, “Simmer”. On top of this, the same day Williams announced her first single album “Petals For Armor” will be out on May 8.
But that wasn’t the end for fans, as Williams surprisingly dropped another music video and released a new single, “Leave It Alone,” on Jan. 30. Both of the singles point towards a new direction for Williams, filled with indie music influence and emotional lyrics.
Williams has always been known for writing with full emotion. Paramore’s last album, “After Laughter” showed this especially with the underlying roots of depression and emotion in each song. The difference between Paramore’s songs and Williams’ new singles is that Paramore often used upbeat streaks to mask some of the emotion while Williams’ singles strike vividly with melodies that match the lyrical feelings.
“Simmer” is about rage. It’s about the human urge to have rage and to want to let it show but having to control it. You have to “simmer down” in order to fit in with societal standards. The lyrics are filled with the story of a girl who’s trying to keep control of herself and her rage, something everyone can relate to.
The interesting thing about “Simmer” is that the music video and the music itself reflect the meaning of the song. The main aspect of the song is the bass in it. It has this bass line that’s deeper in the bass notes and fills all the empty space of the song. It represents the deep, burning wrath within. The music is eerie with the subtle background vocals speaking out in high octaves along with the sharp guitar chords.
Overall, the music just conveys the emotion of rage and danger through its instrumental elements and vocal elements. Even the drums in the background keep a consistent running pace that conveys danger.
The music video reflects this as well. The video features Williams running naked through the woods. She seems to be running from the red lights as she runs into an abandoned house. She covers herself hauntingly in some kind of deep red paste as she’s followed by a figure in a mask. Eventually, she kills the figure to find out it’s herself under the mask. It’s all very haunting and suspenseful.
The other single, “Leave It Alone”, on the other hand, gives a completely different narrative. The song is about feeling grief and overcome with melancholy emotion as you realize those around you will die. Lyrics like “’Cause now that I want to live/Well, everybody around me is dying,” speaks out about the true emotion of fearing loss. It’s a song that you can dwell in, sink down into, and just feel.
Again, like “Simmer”, the music within “Leave It Alone” as well as the music video reflects the lyrics and meaning. The musicality used within the song is filled with light guitar strings, soft cymbals, and a softer voice on Williams’ part than what she used in “Simmer.” It creates an indie sound and ultimately conveys sadness and thinking. It’s much different from “Simmer” in that it’s light and soft rather than deep and heavy.
The music video continues on the story from the previous. There’s an interlude after “Simmer,” which shows Williams dragging her dead self into an empty room and then somehow she becomes cocooned like a butterfly. She then breaks out of the cocoon in the “Leave It Alone” video as a bird-like creature. The entire video then is her dealing with herself and trying to escape herself. She’s also pictured in the woods, this time clothed, searching for others but they always disappear. It’s truly an existential crisis all wrapped up into a video, which is exactly what the song is.
Williams is on the right track with these two new singles, building up her first solo album. For her first solo project, it’s impressive. It shows deeper emotion for Williams than what she has shown fans in the past. So far the songs are thought-provoking, awakening and just a perfect listen. It will be interesting to see where Williams goes from here and what is yet to come in her solo exploration.