How Paramore Shaped Me as a Person
2008. The white walls that surrounded us while watching the local music channel, allowed us to be kept constrained and focused on the TV that showed the countdown to the top song of the week. Small rays of sunlight crept through the cracks of the windows where I would look out to see a local buying something from a house-owned store, as well as little kids that were my age, playing traditional Filipino games on the street. “No sir…” sings a girl with radiant orange hair accompanied by her band, with cuts to a scene of a house party. Young me was mesmerized, this older girl was singing, and she looked like she was having the time of her life while doing so. And that was my earliest memory of listening to Paramore.
Fast forward 9 years and I’m here, absorbing every beat of their latest release — After Laughter. It’s weird, to think that as a child, I genuinely remember the first time I listened to them and how I just wanted to listen to more. In that same year, ‘Decode’ was released for Twilight, and I will never forget the happiness that me and siblings felt while listening to the music channel and a song of Paramore’s would come on.
In those nine years, not only have I watched Paramore grow (and shrink) as a band, I also caught myself growing up with them. It seemed like with every album they released, a new chapter or era of my life started. With Brand New Eyes, it was me trying to fit in to a new country and desperately trying to learn English. With the farewell of the Farro brothers, I once told myself “Wow, this band is a mess…” and I moved on to my K-pop phase at the prime age of 11. So I forgot about them for a while, if I’m being honest.
High school came (or in American terms, middle school) for me at one of the worst periods of my life. The effects of being bullied in primary school got to me, and it hit me hard — and thus, my “emo phase” started. It’s funny how people see the “emo phase” that most went through, a disadvantage, or a bad time of their life. Sure, it’s embarrassing to find your old pictures with a side fringe and eyeliner on your lower lash line — but for me, it was genuinely the time I made the best of friends within my life. In fact, I’m still moderately friends with all of them today.
Right in the middle of that “emo phase” where I only obsessed over bands and bands only, Paramore had announced that they were going to release a new album — a self-titled album; and at this time, my love for them was at its peak (it still is). So I waited, and waited… and waited. I even pre-ordered the album that came with a signed postcard, and 13 year-old me was living for it.
With the self-titled era, brought me one of the happiest eras of my life (so far). I was able to see them live twice, due to winning tickets to iTunes Festival (now Apple Music Festival) as well as being given tickets to one of their sold-out Wembley shows. Seeing one of your favourite bands live definitely makes you love them more than you ever before; hearing the songs so close to you live makes you feel all kinds of overwhelming feelings and I couldn’t be more thankful that I saw them live.
In that same era, I made so many friends that I’m still really close to today. It’s funny as I met one of them due to Paramore’s iTunes Festival show and we forgot about each other until last year, where we met again due to us both creating music and wanting to collaborate. It was strange, since our friendship was literally created because of our love for Paramore; and to this day, he’s one of my closest friends.
When Hard Times was released, I was sitting down in the school’s library where I saw the tweet that they had released a new video. Excited at this point was an understatement, and the amount of times I repeated the music video definitely annoyed those who were near me. And I’m not going to lie, the song was definitely a shock to me. As a fan who was expecting a power chord led song with a catchy riff and angsty lyrics, I was given an 80s riff led song. It was probably by the third listen that I realised what the song was about, and how sad it actually was. I was happy. Finally, a song I can relate and cry to, while dancing at the same time.
Paramore will and always stay relevant to me. Watching their Beats1 interview with Zane Lowe fully reminded me how I respect them as people and definitely as a musician. Hearing about the hard times all three of them went through to reconcile and create music again, as well as dealing with the aftermath of another founding member leaving puts a lot of the songs into perspective.
Thank you for everything.