Paramore’s Hayley Williams says people look back on ’00s emo “with rose-tinted glasses”

"It was an alternative scene for a reason – it was weird"

Paramore frontwoman Hayley Williams has said that people look back on the ’00s emo era “with rose tinted glasses”.

The Tennessee trio sat down with NME for this week’s Big Read cover interview to mark the release of their long-awaited sixth studio album, ‘This Is Why’, which came out today (February 10).

Having dropped their first three records in the 2000s – ‘All We Know Is Falling’ (2005), ‘Riot’ (2007) and ‘Brand New Eyes’ (2009) – Paramore are seen as one of the most important acts to emerge from the pop-punk/emo scene, along with the likes of My Chemical Romance and Fall Out Boy.


Last October saw the group headline Las Vegas’ inaugural nostalgia festival When We Were Young, which boasted “an epic line-up of emo and rock bands from the past two decades”.

Additionally, their old sound has influenced a range of Gen Z artists. In 2021, Williams and her former bandmate Josh Farro earned co-writing credits on Olivia Rodrigo‘s single ‘Good 4 U’ owing to its likeness to ‘Misery Business’. The frontwoman then performed the latter track with Billie Eilish at Coachella 2022.

Despite the ongoing resurgence of such music from the ’00s, Williams told NME that Paramore still have a somewhat contentious relationship with pop-punk’s heyday.

“It’s revisionist history on a less heavy topic,” the singer explained. “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.”

Paramore on the cover of NME. Credit: Zachary Gray

She continued: “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.”


However, Williams went on to talk about how the ‘This Is Why’ song ‘Crave’ sees her longing to relive the trio’s early days.

“When the guys showed me ‘Crave’ I was pumped because we haven’t had anything that sonically felt like that in a really long time,” she told NME.

“We don’t like to give too much credit to nostalgia, we like to move forward. But with the music, you couldn’t escape that feeling. I was just thinking about why I always miss the moment that I’m in because I’m too worried about when it’s going to be over.”

Last year, Williams attributed the current ’00s revival to there being a sense of “frustration in the air”. She said: “I think some people are wanting to go back to what felt, with hindsight, like a simpler time.”

Elsewhere in NME‘s latest Big Read feature, Paramore spoke about how their post-‘After Laughter’ hiatus provided “a necessary detour”.

“It was necessary not to be so hung up on being Paramore: it’s all it’s ever been,” Williams told NME. “We were in junior high when we met, and by the time we had gotten out of high school, everyone knew who we were and the way we related to each other naturally changed.”

The trio also explained how they were “wanting to incorporate more immediacy, guitars and music that we were inspired by when we were first starting the band” when making ‘This Is Why’.

In a five-star review of the album, NME wrote: “‘This Is Why’ is as in tune with the textures of today’s forward-thinking rock as much as it is a love letter to Paramore’s brilliantly caustic early days.”

Paramore are set to embark on a UK and Ireland headline tour in AprilBloc Party and Rozi Plain will open for the group at the gigs. You can see the full schedule below, and find any remaining tickets here.

APRIL 2023
13 – 3Arena, Dublin
15 – International Arena, Cardiff 
17 – OVO Hydro, Glasgow
18 – AO Arena, Manchester
20 – O2 Arena, London 
22 – Utilita Arena, Birmingham
23 – O2 Arena, London 

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