We are Paramore

I’ve loved Paramore, but I think it’s only over the past couple weeks I’ve truly ‘got’ Paramore.

From that tiny club in Zurich to a sweltering Royal Albert Hall, a couple weeks ago, braving the tubes – proving to be pretty alright, conquering a few of those social anxiety demons in the process – to see my band again.

Leading up to it, it was the first time I had a browse around social media to gauge the excitement levels. I’ve lingered on the outskirts of the fanbase last few years, if it’s a family then I’m kind of comparable to a dorky older brother who’s quirky rather than cool. Regardless, across all the excitement I also found stories. So, so many stories.

Digging through the interwebs, Hayley is quoted as saying: “What motivates me is seeing people in the crowd and wondering what they’re going home to and what they’re dealing with, and knowing that for the time being we’re their escape.”

The Parafam is filled with gajillions of awesome stories about how a special little band has helped people far and wide.

The fantastic mural above, to be found in London, reads “I had no friends at all. I used to listen to Paramore every single night and they were the connection I needed.” “Paramore has been this constant thing in my life. When others came and went you stayed.” “Paramore saved my life.”

As referred to in my review (shameless plug), Hayley told the Royal Albert Hall we all found ourselves there because of a song. Everyone has a different story, but she was right.

Whether it was the one that got us on the bandwagon, the one we can’t keep out of our heads, or the one that keeps us going when the world feels that little bit darker – the venue was awash with a sense of intimacy and togetherness, as band and fans wrote a new chapter in one hell of a journey spanning the course of more than a decade.

It’s not been plain sailing for band. There’s been ups. There’s been downs. There’s been lawsuits and an ever-changing roster.

They’ve had hard times and bad days, something frontwoman Hayley Williams detailed in a commendably open, brilliantly insightful interview done with Fader. Hayley talks openly about her anxiety, feelings of hopelessness and depression that she’s struggled with in recent years.

[…] the venue was awash with a sense of intimacy and togetherness, as band and fans wrote a new chapter in one hell of a journey spanning the course of more than a decade.

Discussing something which, unfortunately, still is a taboo topic today with such a stigma attached takes real guts. As a hero for millions, undoubtedly some of which have had similar experiences – yours truly included – the difference it can make is immeasurable.

Suddenly not being okay is made okay. The whole thing is made that little bit more normal. Someone may have that bit of courage to speak out, take hold of an olive branch and find their way from the black hole they’ve been stuck at the bottom of.

Taylor York, the longest standing member apart from Williams, has suffered from depression himself. Together, they were ready to call a quits after the conflicts and dramas that have ravaged the band over the past few years.

Yet, they held on.

Zac Farro made a triumphant, welcome return and the trio conjured up the marvellous After Laughter. It’s perhaps their most meaningful album yet.

Having read Williams’ interview, you only have to listen back to certain tracks – Hard Times, Fake Happy, 26, Pool and more – and they feel all the more poignant.

It just resonates. It helps. I know I’m not the only one, either. Just take a look at the replies to the below tweet.

Plenty resonates within Paramore’s lyrics – way back with All We Know Is Falling, all the way through to After Laughter. But it’s not just that.

They inspire. They’re some of my heroes. It’s a safe bet to say they’re a hell of a lot of other people’s heroes too.

The impression you get is that they’re a genuinely lovely bunch of people. They’re inherently likeable and stupendously talented. It’s the road here, though, from which I take the greatest hope and inspiration. They’ve shown to keep going, even when it’s dark, when the world is beating you down and when things feel impossible.

They’ve shown to persevere. To stay true to yourself. To stay true to what matters. To surround yourself with the right people. They’re a bunch of friends playing music to a family of fans.

They’ve conquered their dark times – as I’m sure many in the excitable crowds they delight have. They’ve pulled through. They’ve stayed passionate. They escape with their fans, on tour, put on a hell of a show and have a fantastic time.

I don’t want to be a musician – well, there was a time I did and I kind of tried singing. In short, I can’t sing for shit, nor do I really have the discipline to learn an instrument. Mind you, there was also my time with the recorder back in primary school…

When Hayley told the Royal Albert Hall, “We know who you are and you’re the same as us. And who are we?” before triumphantly roaring, “We are Paramore!” together with legions of adoring fans who’ve grown up with this band, all with their own stories, their highs and lows, she kinda had a point.

But Paramore have taught me the art of creative therapy, I guess. I find a sense of salvation in writing. And, I guess I want to be like them.

I want to create things that allow people to escape. I want to conquer my demons, flourish through the hard times and build things that’ll help people wrap themselves in another world. One they can be free of whatever the hell is going on and just have a good time.

Exactly as Paramore have done for me and so others.

Paramore fans are alive with creativity, passion and fun. Like I said in my review, with all the utter shit that’s been going on in the world, that night at the Royal Albert Hall was a special one to be a part of owed to the sheer enthusiasm and enjoyment on show. People had come together. Different stories. Different backgrounds. Different places. They’d come together to belt out songs. To share a common bond. United by music.

Paramore have such a rich connection to their fans. It truly is comparable to a family that have grown up together.

It’s a bunch of fans that can associate so deeply with their heroes. We all have our challenges – band included – and all have our things going. Together, we lose ourselves in the music and have a blast.

From small shows and small clubs to the Royal Albert Hall, it’s been a pleasure to be a part of a journey which only seems as if it’s going from strength to strength.

I’m sure we’ll be even stronger the next time we come together.

From crippling anxiety and depression, to conquering cancer, to a first class degree in my pocket and my first job, I’ve had a rollercoaster ride of my own from concert-to-concert.

Hopefully by the time album #6 comes around, and wherever I see them next, I’ll have gone from strength to strength. And, obviously, hopefully everyone at the Royal Albert Hall and everyone that’s seen them on Tour One will have done too.

When Hayley told the Royal Albert Hall, “We know who you are and you’re the same as us. And who are we?” before triumphantly roaring, “We are Paramore!” together with legions of adoring fans who’ve grown up with this band, all with their own stories, their highs and lows, she kinda had a point.

We are. And it’s cool to be a part of it.

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