Best Motivational Dance Party: Paramore
Last year, Paramore put out After Laughter, a candy-dipped chronicle of depression and anxiety that used highlife guitars and high-gloss synths as a glare-inducing contrast to downcast lyrics. While other acts might let these sorts of sentiments drag down their mood, Paramore have used the ideas discussed on After Laughter as a catalyst for openness about life's darker moments. After performing the dreamy "Pool" at Bonnaroo, vocalist Hayley Williams took a seat on the stage and opened up to the audience, talking about the circumstances that led to After Laughter and the chaos lurking in the rest of the world. "We're in a really strange time, and it's very dark," she said. "And every day you wake up and you don't know what the news is going to be, and most of the time it's not great." She touched on that morning's news of Anthony Bourdain's death, not mentioning the late food ambassador by name but noting that the loss was sad on a human level because "we are all people, coexisting." Using that as an impetus to bring the crowd together, she asked the assembled to take a moment and breathe in the collective energy. "No matter what you're going through, I know this doesn't make it go away," she said. "But for one second, just be present, enjoy music ... and let's just fuckin' dance." The skittery, withering "Told You So," fueled by Williams' pugilistic energy, made it easy to follow suit. M.J.