PARAMORE THRASH OUT THEIR DIFFERENCES FOR ALL TO SEE ON THIS BRAND NEW EYES STORMER
y Hayley Williams’ own admission, Ignorance was the song that saved Paramore from splitting up.
In the early months of 2009, some 18 months after the release of their second album Riot!, tensions were running high as they worked on its follow-up album at Green Day and My Chemical Romance producer Rob Cavallo’s Lightning Sound Studios at his home in Hidden Hills, California.
The song was written after a particularly stressful day in their practise space in Franklin, Tennessee. Feeling the pressure from delivering a worthy follow-up to their breakthrough album, the five members were not seeing eye-to-eye.
“No-one was coming up with anything,” explained Hayley. “I could tell Josh [Farro, guitarist] was really bummed. He looked up at us and was like, ‘Listen, guys, I’m never gonna write another song like Misery Business, so get over it.’ Then he turned around and started playing this riff. I thought, ‘Well, that one will do,’ and wrote the lyrics on the way home in my car. Ignorance is like word-vomit put to guitars.” In the following days, Hayley felt as though her kneejerk lyrics may have been a little too close for comfort and tried to mumble her words as the song took shape. “Taylor [York, guitarist] was right next to the speaker and heard every word,” she explained. “He gave me this fierce look and said, ‘So, do you want to tell me about those lyrics?’ I ran into the bathroom, I was so nervous. But we talked for two hours and reconciled a lot of tough, heavy things. That song saved our band.”
Indeed, Hayley is at her most confrontational in this pep-packed song built around a riff, which hints at ska, all pinned down with Zac Farro’s muscular, off-kilter drumming.
Her sassy delivery of the lyrics – ‘Where’s your gavel? / Your jury? / What’s my offense this time?’ in particular – appear to face the unsettled band’s problems head-on with a degree of feistiness and a hint of vitriol. “The truth of it is, growing up is not easy,” she told Kerrang! while the band were putting the finishing touches to the album. “There were a lot of
times when I felt really alone or angry or insecure. I don’t always feel good at confronting people, especially people that I love, like these guys. Sometimes it takes songs to get the point across.”
But despite critical acclaim, the song – which was released as the first single from the album Brand New Eyes – merely papered over the cracks in the band. On December 18, 2010, 14 months after the album’s release, Josh and Zac left the band. Josh aired his grievances in a particularly vindictive statement.
“Hayley claimed that this record reunited us as a band and made us grow closer, when in reality we were all growing further apart,” he wrote, adding, “The friendships our band once had were no longer existent.”
The remaining members, however, were quick to respond, and in a lengthy interview with MTV News, Hayley admitted that much of the album was about the conflict within the band: “It was really hard, because we were all friends, and then going through a break-up and going through any kind of tension as a band really affected all the lyrics.”
Thankfully, with those friendships recently healed (see p10), Ignorance’s lasting legacy is merely one of a brilliant song that remains a staple of Paramore’s live show.
“THAT SONG SAVED OUR BAND” HAYLEY WILLIAMS