In the summer of 2007, Paramore unleashed a pop-punk anthem on the world with “Misery Business.”
The song the first single from the band’s second album “Riot! ” details a true narrative about singer Hayley Williams( who was 17 at the time) impression betrayed and backstabbed by another daughter. It was 100% undiluted high school drama. It was also catchy as all hell .
While the ballad is still a banger a decade subsequently, a few of the lyrics haven’t precisely weathered the test of period. Specifically, the line “Second chances, they don’t ever matter/ Person never change/ Once a prostitute, you’re nothing more/ I’m sorry, that’ll never change.”
People have been criticizing Williams for that particular lyric for a while now, calling it “anti-feminist.” So she’s addressing it head on.
In a recent interview with Track7, Williams recognise the backlash, went on to say that she was a bit riled because she “had already done so much soul-searching about it, years before anyone else had decided there was an issue.”
ain’t that the truth. But sometimes when you’re 18 and you write emotional lyrics that get recorded& you can’t take em back
hayley from Paramore (@ yelyahwilliams) November 18, 2016
“When the article began circulating, I sort of had to go and rehash everything in front of everybody, ” she told. “It was important, however, for me to show humility in that moment. I was a 17 year old kid when I wrote the lyrics in question and if I can somehow exemplify what it means to grow up, get information, and become any shade of ‘woke, ‘ then thats a-okay with me.”
you guys, it’s been a decade since RIOT came out& im thrilled to report that business is just slightly less miserable now.
hayley from Paramore (@ yelyahwilliams) June 12, 2017
She recognise now how she was unwittingly “feeding into a lie that[ she’d] bought into, just like so many other teenagers and many adults before[ her ], ” about being a “cool girl” and tearing other women down. In other words, she’s a more mature person at 28 than she was at 17.
In May 2015, she addressed the lyric in a Tumblr post, saying that she’s not ashamed of her missteps because they’ve helped shape her into the person she went on to become.
Williams was a little more self-aware at the time than even she devotes herself credit for .
David Bendeth, who made the “Riot! ” album, opened up about the process in an interview with Billboard to mark the record’s 10 th anniversary, touching on Williams’ reluctance to sing the infamous lyric.
“Hayley was upset about that girl[ who was the subject of ‘Misery Business’ ]. In fact, in the lyrics she wrote, ‘Once a whore, youre nothing more’ and I remember at the time, she looked at me and said, ‘I dont think I can sing this. I dont guess I can say this. This just isnt me, ‘ and I said, ‘Hayley, it is you and you wrote it. You have to sing it, ‘ and she says, ‘I merely dont think its right. I believe morally its incorrect to call somebody that.’ I said, ‘Youre not[ calling somebody that ]. Youre explaining the situation, ‘ and she said, ‘Okay, Im going to sing it. Im not going to like it, but Im going to sing it.'”
W e can all be attributed to regretting things we said or did when we were younger. It’s how we react when those things resurface that tells the most about who we are as people .
Learning to admit our mistakes and grow from them is part of being human.
In a world where children are growing up online, posting to social media sites at younger ages, these mistakes are more likely to be the type that are not only public now , but will be public 10 years from now. The type of scrutiny previously reserved for rock starrings, politicians, and public figures will increasingly seep into the lives of everyone.
While there are things people can do to keep their info private to avoid embarrassing revelations years down the line( always check your privacy settings ), there’s also a lot we can do as individuals in society to create a more empathetic culture that allows people to evolve beyond past mistakes and grow into their best selves or not make those embarrassing mistakes in the first place.
In the years since the release of “Riot! ” Williams has done advocacy work in support of LGBTQ people, the environment, survivors of sexual assault, music education, and the fight against breast cancer. One style to start creating a more empathetic society is by accept and acknowledging Williams’ statement at face value, bolstered by her actions, as a sign of her growth, meeknes, and most of all, her humanity.
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