What the Hell Is Going on in Paramore's New Video?
Making music videos is one of the most fun parts of being in a band, but it’s also the one thing that most bands end up failing at.
Last week at the final show of 285 Kent, my friend Sasha Hecht asked me to cover a Paramore song during our set. Being on enough drugs and whiskey when the kick drum broke, I crawled towards her and sang the first verse of “Ain’t It Fun” because that is the best track on Paramore’s self-titled album. Pocket-sized front woman Hayley Williams is, in my eyes, the perfect pop star. I revealed my respect and love for her last year in a confessional letter (which I am sure she never read, thank God.) I can’t sing like Hayley because Hayley has a big voice with dexterity, range and balance. I don’t know why, but watching Hayley perform is like the feeling you get when you pop a tiny zit on your face and all his stuff comes out, like, how did something so tiny release so much?
Today, Paramore dropped their official music video for “Ain’t It Fun”, an anthem for anyone giving themselves an unnecessary pity party. Apparently, Hayley wrote the song about leaving her home of Nashville to the supposed sanctuary of Los Angeles where everyone and their grandmother would not be talking about the alleged break-up her band was going through. She realized her problems just followed her. Hayley likes a good life lesson. Hayley knows how to laugh at herself.
But the video doesn’t make sense to any of this. Making music videos is one of the most fun parts of being in a band, but it’s also the one thing that most bands end up failing at. My band has made some really stupid videos. And most of it was my fault. Sometimes what is in your head doesn’t translate through a director, a camera and a team of assistants who have their own opinions on your outfit and your over zealous lip syncing. It’s hard when other hands get into your head.
So, what the hell is going on in “Ain’t It Fun?” The band “sets out to break a bunch of world records.” First, they smash guitars on a bridge. Then, they catch feathers in the air? (Yes, this is the most confusing one.) They unwrap Hayley like a mummy. They drive in a convertible down a country road while fake screaming. They smash a bunch of vinyl. There’s a lot of smiling. Did I mention that the reason Paramore makes most people sick is the exact reason I adore them? The wholesomeness of it all. It’s all smiles. It’s very, very uplifting if you just let go of your inner cynic and give in to the irresistible charm that is Hayley Williams. Of course Paramore would set out to break the record of catching the most feathers in the air. Sometimes I wonder if Hayley knows who G.G. Allin is and if she thinks he was the living wrath of Satan?
I will admit that “Ain’t It Fun” is a major fuck-up. The video fails, but because I am a super fan, I will continue to defend and forgive. Bands make mistakes. It’s part of the fabulous and fun game of being involved in the record industry and having a team of people rely on your so-called “talent” to generate enough income to feed their kids and gas their cars. Maybe catching feathers in a metaphor I am not evolved enough to understand? Maybe this concept does make sense and I’m just too thick? I’ll never know, but the great thing about pop is that it doesn’t ask many questions. It just aims to please. It feels good, even when it’s a fail.
Mish Way sings in White Lung and tweets on Twitter - @myszkaway