As the singer of one of the most beloved pop-punk/emo bands of the last 20 years – Paramore – Hayley Williams has plenty to say about the golden age of those styles. For instance, she recently declared that the “alternative scene” wasn’t as great as many people might remember.
In a chat with NME published yesterday (Feb. 10), Williams spoke about the group’s latest studio LP – This is Why – as well as the importance of “competitiveness,” inclusivity and “feel[ing] seen” in music (especially for women).
When asked about Paramore’s “contentious relationship with pop-punk’s heyday” – as interviewer Erica Campbell put it – Williams didn’t hold back in sharing her views:
People look back with these rose-tinted glasses. They talk about the good and forget the rest. It was an alternative scene for a reason – it was weird. Those kids were bullied, that’s why so many guys in those bands wrote shitty songs about ex-girlfriends. I just get angry about the injustice of a bunch of people who were bullied, essentially creating a world where other people didn’t feel welcome.
She’s certainly got a point, and it’s not the first time Williams has discussed her experiences with aggression, sexism, bigotry and the like within the music industry.
Last month, for instance, she went into depth about how NOFX co-founder “Fat” Mike Burkett “used to tell people that [she] gave good rim jobs onstage when [she] was 19 years old.” She added: “And I feel strongly that without young women, people of color and also the queer community, I just think we would still be where we were then.”
In December 2022, Williams revealed that she’s hesitant to play guitar live because of “stupid comments on the internet” regarding women’s abilities to use the instrument. Prior to headlining When Were Young Festival last October, she even shared an open letter regarding her history with emo and pop-punk.
In it, she stated:
To be a young girl in love with this scene was to have the hope that I might find my own way to belong. It took years to find that belonging. It’s taken a lot of unlearning. A lot of untangling knots I didn’t even know were there. What I did know was that for every “Take off your top!” or snarky punkzine review … for every dramatic headline pinned on my name, or any season of self-doubt … no one was going to define Paramore but Paramore.
Luckily, Williams and company are continuing to defy the haters, with This is Why garnering many positive reviews thus far. They’re also gearing up for their 2023 international tour (with Bloc Party, Foals, The Linda Lindas and/or Genesis Owusu). You can see the full list of dates here, and purchase tickets here!