10 Best: Paramore
By: Connor Lenahan
In Spring 2015 I finally got around to seeing Paramore in a Boston theater full of screaming teenage girls. Despite sticking out demographically from most everyone around me, I was potentially more excited than anyone to see the band. I knew every word to every song, and it was magical.
I stumbled upon their first major hit, “Misery Business,” by virtue of waking up in the middle of the night watching MTV in the era where music videos were still on television. Ever since I have been enamored with some of the better rock songs of the past decade fronted by Hayley Williams, one of the best singers in the world today.
Without further ado, here are Paramore’s top 10 songs.
10. “All I Wanted”
This was an incredibly tough list to figure out because Paramore has a lot of really strong songs. This spot was a debate between a bunch of tracks (“Emergency,” “That’s What You Get,” “Still Into You,” “Hate To See Your Heart Break,” and more) but I gave the nod to “All I Wanted” because Hayley Williams hits a vocal crescendo that is without peer in the band’s discography during the chorus. While the songs ahead of “All I Wanted” might be stronger full band efforts, Hayley carries this one through and through.
9. “Let The Flames Begin”
When I was 13 this was one of the best songs I’d have ever heard. Now nearly 22 it’s still one of my personal favorites. The chorus of this song is a prime cut of musical dramatics the band can conjure. In the most visceral sense the song makes you want to go out and go to battle with your rival in life – real or imagined. This is a call to war, and a damn effective one at that. I want to punch through a window, I’m hyped as hell right now.
Brand New Eyes came out in 2009, but I somehow skipped out on listening to it for a few years. Sure, you catch the big hits – specifically “The Only Exception,” but the evolution of this band from punky-teen band to something with stronger teeth and stronger music. The actual genesis of the band took two years, but my idiocy widened that gap. “Ignorance,” the second track on their third album, is forceful. A welcome message that “we are back, and are stronger than ever.”
Hayley Williams was 17 when this song came out. She had this talent that young. It would be wrong not to give props to such a great turn on the band’s first album that remains one of the best they have. Also: SEVENTEEN.
Remember what I just said about “Ignorance”? Imagine if it was somehow a little more intense and had a better vocal track from Hayley Williams. Except you don’t have to imagine, because that’s precisely what’s happened here. And it’s terrific. And I love it.
5. “Tell Me It’s Okay”
This song wasn’t even supposed to see the light of day – it’s a bonus track on the deluxe version of Paramore, the band’s latest album. Maybe it’s some mental trick I play on myself. My favorite song of 2016 was an unreleased track from Chance the Rapper’s Coloring Book, “Grown Ass Kid,” after all. But “Tell Me It’s Okay” is a borderline flawless, entirely tiny track. The crowd exploded when this came on live last year, because like the best Paramore songs it makes you want to jump up and down and drive 345 MPH over the Grand Canyon. “Tell Me It’s Okay” is auditory adrenaline.
4. “The Only Exception”
Now we get to the “Every song between 1-4 could be credibly argued as number one and is essentially an A+” section. I dare you, dare you, to find someone that doesn’t know every word to this song that was in high school or college when it came out. It exploded in popularity and is low-key extremely sad yet heartwarming. It’s simple in construction, beautifully written and layered, and still one of the better songs of the last ten years. I’m not crying, you’re crying.
3. “(One of Those) Crazy Girls”
This will almost certainly be my most controversial choice here, but I stand by it entirely. There is no other song that intersects between hilarious and awesome in the band’s career works. No other track comes close to pulling off the hilarity of a broken relationship that turns into stalking threats in a poppy little number. It’s an eternal sing along, and just terrific.
2. “Misery Business”
I nearly went deaf when the first note of guitar dropped to “Misery Business.” It’s going to remain the gateway song to nearly every Paramore fan, and a nearly-perfect one at that. A tongue sharper than a knife with drums ready to start a revolution and a physically undeniable melody. If you’re familiar with the song, I don’t need to explain why it’s so high here. If you’re an uninitiated listener, click play above and you will quickly understand.
1. “Ain’t It Fun”
Simply put, the anthem that Paramore can and will ride into a new age of their career. The band’s musical tone shifted after Brand New Eyes and into Paramore, with the backing band behind Williams changing entirely. But with a reinvigorated supporting cast the band was able to put out a terrific album with a new show stealer. The band is currently recording their fifth album, and it’s easy to get excited coming off the last effort and the fact that “Ain’t It Fun” is just incredible. A nearly untouchable number one.