Skip to main content

Home Music Music News

Hayley Williams says people look back at pop-punk with ‘rose-tinted glasses’

‘It’s revisionist history on a less heavy topic,’ said the Paramore frontwoman

By Hollie Geraghty

Paramore press image
Paramore. CREDIT: Zachary Gray

Paramore’s Hayley Williams has reflected on the golden era of the alternative pop-punk scene, saying that people reflect on those time with “rose-tinted glasses”.

The band returned today (February 10) with their sixth album ‘This Is Why’, described in a four-star review from Rolling Stone UK as “vital and powerful”, proving once again “why they’re still one of music’s most important voices”.

Reflecting on their new album, Williams has spoken out about why being associated with nostalgia and the noughties isn’t necessarily a good thing. “It’s revisionist history on a less heavy topic,” the frontwoman told NME in a new cover interview.

Paramore 'This Is Why' album cover
Paramore ‘This Is Why’ album cover (Photo: Press).

“People look back with these rose-tinted glasses. They talk about the good and forget the rest. It was an alternative scene for a reason – it was weird.”

She continued: “Those kids were bullied, that’s why so many guys in those bands wrote shitty songs about ex-girlfriends. I just get angry about the injustice of a bunch of people who were bullied, essentially creating a world where other people didn’t feel welcome.”

She also shared that she hopes “no young female experiences the shit that I experienced,” adding: “Our entire scene was contributing to shitty treatment of women and anything that wasn’t masculine.”

The singer shared a similar sentiment ahead of the launch of her BBC Sounds podcast series Everything Is Emo last year, telling Rolling Stone UK that for a long time she’d “been adamant about not being pigeonholed into one scene that it would have never come from my brain”.

She also spoke about how the band initially distanced themselves from the ’emo’ label.

“Oh, man, we were so concerned – especially me – with not being whatever the scene deemed as poser or whatever,” she explained. “Especially as a young girl, the pressure was really on to not be lame.”

Williams continued: “Definitely more than once said we were not emo in interviews. We also were like, we’re not pop punk. In interviews, I think we just didn’t want to be anything specific. Because we always wanted to be able to transcend whatever that was”.

Hayley Williams pictured for her new podcast Everything is Emo
Hayley Williams (Picture: Zac Farro)

As for labels, the singer explained that “people just make emo whatever they want it to be”, adding: “And if they want Paramore to be pop punk or emo, it just is up to the people.

“It’s never up to the bands. It’s up to journalists and how people categorise s–t.”

Before Paramore headlined the inaugural emo and rock festival ‘When We Were Young’ in October last year, Williams shared a letter to her Instagram in which she said that to “grow up in this scene was not a simple thing”.

“To be celebrating it (and to be celebrated by it) is not a simple thing. Nothing about this life – for you, me, or anyone – is simple.”