Hayley Williams Reflects on Ditching ‘Trauma-Bonded Comfort Zones’ to Create ‘Paramore’
The only thing more jarring than watching an illustrious band tear apart at the seams in real-time is being in the band itself while it’s happening. This was Hayley Williams’ experience as Paramore began to fall apart following the release of their third studio album Brand New Eyes, in 2009. Within a year, guitarist Josh Farro and drummer Zac Farro had departed, and the external perception that followed suggested that Williams was the one poisoning the band from the inside out.
Their self-titled follow-up, Paramore, arrived in April 2013 as a statement of resilience that declared that the band was still standing and that they were growing and changing for the better. “The story of Paramore has been rife with reality show-style drama. Well, until the last 6 or 7 years,” Williams wrote on Instagram Wednesday. “It’s really great to be able to look back from where we are now, knowing the story didn’t end when some said it would.”
Reflecting on the decade since the record’s release, Williams continued: “10 years ago we put out a record that took a lot of guts and self-determination to make. Mainly because after losing 2 members of the band there was so much discourse around whether or not the band could make anything worthwhile – let alone stay together.”
Zac would later contribute to the creation of Paramore’s album After Laughter before officially rejoining the band ahead of the project’s release in 2017. But while he was gone, Williams – alongside their other longest-running member Taylor York and former bassist Jeremy Davis – hit a new stride. “The fact that two guys left the band and then we decided not give up, but then a year later we wrote what to me is our best album yet?” Williams told Rolling Stone in 2013. “Everything happens for a reason so, as cliché as it sounds, I can’t afford to look at it any differently.”
Paramore garnered the band a Grammy Award win for Best Rock Song with its tongue-in-cheek single “Ain’t It Fun,” and tangled with the pop landscape with the unabashed love song “Still Into You.” Other songs, like “Daydreaming” and “(One of Those) Crazy Girls,” remain standouts in their catalog. Since then, their evolution has continued from album to album, with After Laughter (2017) and This is Why (2023) reflecting stark shifts in sonic palettes and lyrical ideologies.
“If all that led to our Self-Titled album hadn’t happened, we’d be the most boring band of all time. If we hadn’t been forced out of our trauma-bonded comfort zones, we would’ve never known what we might be capable of,” Williams continued on Instagram. “Taylor and I wrote these songs having no idea if people would accept a reformed, more liberated version of Paramore. Our fans not only accepted but championed our rebirth.”
“Thank you for allowing us the room for creative risk and for keeping this story going,” she concluded. “We love you. Paramore forever.”