Paramore's Relevancy To Mental Health Awareness Month
Start writing a post
Entertainment

Paramore's Relevancy To Mental Health Awareness Month

Why you need to hear the pop-rock trio's most recent album.

146
Paramore's Relevancy To Mental Health Awareness Month
Lindsey Byrnes

Activism has become rather convoluted in its connotations; from blocking traffic on highways to screaming Bible verses on street corners, many would assume the "A" word should always be synonymous with extreme, heavy-handed tactics. It may seem to some that to demand change, a large, noisy crowd of people is required, ready with giant picket signs to tower over the masses that demand change and reform.

Over the course of this year, there have been many well-executed examples of activism, including the Woman's March and the March for Science. The amount of healthy sociopolitical discourse they have and continue to create is fantastic and much needed, considering our current political climate. But with that said, not all activism occurs through the genre of the march: enter Paramore's fifth and most recent studio album, "After Laughter."

Released May 12th, 2017, "After Laughter" comes nearly halfway through Mental Health Awareness Month. While some fans appear to be apprehensive to accepting the band's new 80s pop-influenced musical style, it has collected quite the acclaim among critics, with Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, and Sputnikmusic noting its catchy melodies and danceable rhythms. But listening more attentively to the project brings to focus the true star of the show: Hayley Williams and Taylor York's honest, open lyrical content.

The contrast between the dark, seemingly defeated narration and the upbeat, synth-pop production is apparent right from the start.The bouncing beat and sweet guitar licks on the opening track "Hard Times" are interrupted by Williams hopelessly begging that "all that [she] wants is to wake up fine / tell [her] that it's all right / that [she] ain't gonna die." Right off the bat, the audience is hit with nothing but an honest statement that truly cuts through the seemingly happy tone the album contains. It is this point forward on my first listen through the project that a realization set in: Hayley Williams is using her own musical platform to explain her personal struggles with depression, and is refusing to apologize for it.

This very lyrical moment is brought up in the band's Beats 1 interview with Zane Lowe, with Williams answer keeping in line with the album's imminent honesty. When asked if depression was something she struggled with, she had this to say: "Now? Yeah. Three years ago? No... I don't know what happened, but now? Yeah, for sure... I think it gave me empathy for friends who struggle." Further on in her answer, she mentions the struggle to verbalize the emotional roller coaster of it all, but thankfully for everyone who is interested in what depression does indeed feel like, the album offers unapologetic, hard-hitting lyrics, perfectly capturing the inner struggle battling mental illness can become.

The second track, "Rose-Colored Boy," sees Hayley confronting an easily recognizable character among those who also struggle with mental health issues: the painfully persistent optimist who cannot sympathize with a narrator who is suffering from depression. The song is bookended by the chant "low key / no pressure / just hang with me and my weather," and features one of the LP's smoothest bridges, with the lyric "you say my eyes are getting too dark now / but boy, you ain't ever seen my mind." Not only is Hayley singing about her struggle with mental illness, she is encouraging the opposition (and indirectly, the audience) to see things from her perspective, and to recognize the real yet often ignored struggle of depression. Even the chorus acknowledges the plenty of others that are in her place mentally, exclaiming to the optimist that "we can't all be like you." This is only the second track, and the unapologetic honesty in exploring mental illness is consistently present.

Among the other songs in the track listing, "26," "Caught In the Middle," and "Tell Me How" are the most explicit with their tone toward mental health. But potentially my favorite of these deep cuts is "Fake Happy," an electro-pop anthem encouraging its listeners to toss aside their happy, joyful exterior and recognize that people consistently fake happiness just to get by. Sure, life is easier when we pretend nothing is wrong, but nothing can be more emotionally taxing, and therefore more dangerous, than not being honest about your mental state. "I know I said that I was doing good and that I'm happy now / I shoulda known that when things were going good that's when I'd get knocked down." Hayley's observance is well put: life is not an exponentially steady progression. Life will get in your way, cause emotional turmoil, and even lead to mental health struggles. But at the same time, here she is, singing about that very pain, proving that even if you are hurting beyond belief, life can still be held onto. No matter the mental rain clouds and past harm, there is hope and help to be found.

Paramore's new album fits perfectly in with National Mental Health Awareness Month; the band's album is a pop-rock display of activism. While it might not be yelling on a street corner, the trio lyrically make the demand for a world that empathizes and understands those struggling with depression. If you have not given the album a listen, I would highly recommend it. Besides being a stellar body of work, its message is perfect for this month's focus on those who struggle with mental illness. And to those who are struggling, myself included, I hope you feel as encouraged by the band's work as I am.

For more information on National Mental Health Month, visit Mental Health America.

If you or someone you love is struggling with depression or any form of mental illness and/or any emotional hardship in general, please consider calling the National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Robert Bye on Unsplash

I live by New York City and I am so excited for all of the summer adventures.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

The invention of photography

The history of photography is the recount of inventions, scientific discoveries and technical improvements that allowed human beings to capture an image on a photosensitive surface for the first time, using light and certain chemical elements that react with it.

206547

The history of photography is the recount of inventions, scientific discoveries and technical improvements that allowed human beings to capture an image on a photosensitive surface for the first time, using light and certain chemical elements that react with it.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Exposing Kids To Nature Is The Best Way To Get Their Creative Juices Flowing

Constantly introducing young children to the magical works of nature will further increase the willingness to engage in playful activities as well as broaden their interactions with their peers

1653904

Whenever you are feeling low and anxious, just simply GO OUTSIDE and embrace nature! According to a new research study published in Frontiers in Psychology, being connected to nature and physically touching animals and flowers enable children to be happier and altruistic in nature. Not only does nature exert a bountiful force on adults, but it also serves as a therapeutic antidote to children, especially during their developmental years.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Simple Ways To Give Yourself Grace, Especially When Life Gets Hard

Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we are becoming.

1037066
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

If there's one thing I'm absolutely terrible at, it's giving myself grace. I'm easily my own worst critic in almost everything that I do. I'm a raging perfectionist, and I have unrealistic expectations for myself at times. I can remember simple errors I made years ago, and I still hold on to them. The biggest thing I'm trying to work on is giving myself grace. I've realized that when I don't give myself grace, I miss out on being human. Even more so, I've realized that in order to give grace to others, I need to learn how to give grace to myself, too. So often, we let perfection dominate our lives without even realizing it. I've decided to change that in my own life, and I hope you'll consider doing that, too. Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we're becoming. As you read through these five affirmations and ways to give yourself grace, I hope you'll take them in. Read them. Write them down. Think about them. Most of all, I hope you'll use them to encourage yourself and realize that you are never alone and you always have the power to change your story.

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

Breaking Down The Beginning, Middle, And End of Netflix's Newest 'To All The Boys' Movie

Noah Centineo and Lana Condor are back with the third and final installment of the "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" series

939331
Netflix

Were all teenagers and twenty-somethings bingeing the latest "To All The Boys: Always and Forever" last night with all of their friends on their basement TV? Nope? Just me? Oh, how I doubt that.

I have been excited for this movie ever since I saw the NYC skyline in the trailer that was released earlier this year. I'm a sucker for any movie or TV show that takes place in the Big Apple.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

4 Ways To Own Your Story, Because Every Bit Of It Is Worth Celebrating

I hope that you don't let your current chapter stop you from pursuing the rest of your story.

614245
Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Every single one of us has a story.

I don't say that to be cliché. I don't say that to give you a false sense of encouragement. I say that to be honest. I say that to be real.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

How Young Feminists Can Understand And Subvert The Internalized Male Gaze

Women's self-commodification, applied through oppression and permission, is an elusive yet sexist characteristic of a laissez-faire society, where women solely exist to be consumed. (P.S. justice for Megan Fox)

396175
Paramount Pictures

Within various theories of social science and visual media, academics present the male gaze as a nebulous idea during their headache-inducing meta-discussions. However, the internalized male gaze is a reality, which is present to most people who identify as women. As we mature, we experience realizations of the perpetual male gaze.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

It's Important To Remind Yourself To Be Open-Minded And Embrace All Life Has To Offer

Why should you be open-minded when it is so easy to be close-minded?

506797

Open-mindedness. It is something we all need a reminder of some days. Whether it's in regards to politics, religion, everyday life, or rarities in life, it is crucial to be open-minded. I want to encourage everyone to look at something with an unbiased and unfazed point of view. I oftentimes struggle with this myself.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments