Paramore have announced they will no longer play ‘Misery Business’, their breakthrough hit, at live shows. The track has been the focus of a heated debate whether the lyrics are ‘anti-feminist’.
Frontwoman Hayley Williams declared the song’s retirement at a special one-off concert event in their hometown of Nashville on September 7. The headline show also marked the end of touring their 2017 album ‘After Laughter’.
Before launching into the song, Williams said: “This is a choice that we’ve made because we feel that we should, we feel like it’s time to move away from it for a little while.
“This is to every bad decision that led us here, this is to all the embarrassing things we might have said, but we owned up to it and we grew.”
At the Paramore concert in Nashville and they just announced that they won’t be performing Misery Business again for a long time after this show. Omg. pic.twitter.com/wARvoYGz76
— Tyler Matl (@TylerMatl) September 8, 2018
The debate has surrounded the second verse: “Once a whore, you’re nothing more, I’m sorry, that will never change”.
Williams wrote the song when she was 17.
Williams has spoken at length about the specific lyrics, including this Tumblr post from May 2015, distancing herself from the emotions of her teenage self. She didn’t sing the second line in Nashville.
Last year, on the 10th anniversary of the song, Williams spoke to Track 7 about the backlash to the song.
“The thing that annoyed me,” Hayley Williams said, “was that I had already done so much soul-searching about it, years before anyone else had decided there was an issue. When the article began circulating, I sort of had to go and rehash everything in front of everybody. 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 that’s a-okay with me.”
The band called on the crowd to toast their final rendition of ‘Misery Business’ with energy and love.
As you can imagine, fans did not take the news lightly online.
paramore just announced on stage that tonight is the last night they’d ever play misery business and I am in cardiac arrest.
— Sam (@heysammetz) September 8, 2018
Paramore retiring Misery Business + the recordings of Tell Me How have both destroyed me emotionally. pic.twitter.com/sk3fIRz0Er
— Sydney Nickole (@SydneyNickole64) September 8, 2018
My day has been ruined knowing that the bop that is misery business is being retired pic.twitter.com/UH2hrj9u3d
— Andrea (@Andieeee__) September 8, 2018
However, tribute band Paramore Or Less were quick to allay fears that they would also drop the song from shows.
#ripmiserybusiness We based our whole look around this iconic song, in our world #miserybusiness will still be going strong, we will always play it live and we will always get you guys to come sing it with us on stage. We understand why @paramore are doi… https://t.co/iIWXPNaQFM pic.twitter.com/9tjNcFLk2J
— Paramore Or Less (@Paramore_OrLess) September 9, 2018