From Paramore To Guns ‘N’ Roses, How Musicians Are Dealing With Their Past Problematic Lyrics

Deputy Music Editor
09.14.18 28 Comments

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Over the weekend, Nashville pop-punk luminaries Paramore closed out their announced dates behind 2017’s After Laughter with their own hometown event, Paramore Art + Friends festival. The concert featured acts like Coin and Bully opening for a headlining Paramore set, but perhaps the most noteworthy moment came ahead of the performance of one of Paramore’s most beloved songs.

As Altpress reported, Paramore leader Haley Williams prefaced the 2007 hit “Misery Business” by announcing “Tonight we’re playing this song for the last time for a really long time. 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.”

The song features the line, “Once a whore, you’re nothing more / I’m sorry that’ll never change,” a blow written by the young Williams that hasn’t aged well as conversations around “slut shaming” have grown more common. And for now, this looks to be the last word on a topic that Williams has had plenty to say in the past, including tweets, interviews, and a blog post from 2015 that finds an older Williams reflecting on the lyrics written by a teenage self and seeing how they don’t align with her more feminist, adult views. Williams wrote:

“’Misery Business’ is not a set of lyrics that I relate to as a 26-year-old woman. I haven’t related to it in a very long time. Those words were written when I was 17… admittedly, from a very narrow-minded perspective. It wasn’t really meant to be this big philosophical statement about anything. It was quite literally a page in my diary about a singular moment I experienced as a high schooler.”

As Stereogum points out, Williams has even opted to just skip over the lyrics in the past during live performances of the song, but it seems the time has come where she wants to move away from the song completely. And while anyone who’s seen Paramore live knows that the track, which often features a fan onstage performing the lyrics with Williams, is a high point of the set, it’s also ubiquitous enough that putting it on the shelf for a few years won’t likely upset any of the diehards.

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