Hayley Williams on writing the brutally honest ‘Dead Horse’: “It was like digging up bones”

The song deals with her relationship with ex-husband Chad Gilbert

Hayley Williams has opened up about writing the brutally honest ‘Dead Horse’, which features on her debut solo album ‘Petals For Armor’.

The track focuses on her relationship with her ex-husband, New Found Glory’s Chad Gilbert, including how they got together via an affair. “I got what I deserved, I was the other woman first,” she sings in one line.

Speaking to NME for this week’s Big Read cover feature, Williams discussed her hesitance to share those thoughts with the world. “I did not want to write about my past that way,” she said. “I really didn’t. I’ve never had a problem singing about the things that make me mad. I’ve done that with Paramore our whole career, but I’ve learned how to articulate it in different ways as we’ve grown up.”


The musician continued: “My angst and rage has been a protective layer for the softer sadness and shame that I feel. ‘Dead Horse’ came just after ripping off the last band-aid. It was about finding this bubbling lava underneath a hard stone. It was like digging up bones.”

Williams added that the track felt like something her 21-year-old self would have written. “I silenced her for a long time and covered it up with angst,” she said. “I needed to get some of that shit out; a splinter of shame needed to get pulled.”

‘Petals For Armor’ was released today (May 8) and marks the Paramore frontwoman’s first full-length solo release. In a four-star review, NME said of the record: “From a less skilled artist, such a disparate-sounding album might morph into a collage of loose touchstones. Hayley Williams, on the other hand, draws clearly from other artists but retains her voice at the centre.”

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