Top 10 Songs From Paramore That You Should Revisit

Paramore has confirmed that they are releasing their first album in five years, This Is Why, on February 10, 2023.

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The group’s long-awaited return could be chalked up to the ’00s emo resurgence that has been brought on by the likes of Olivia Rodrigo imbuing that nostalgic sound into her current music. Of all the bands that made waves in that era, Paramore is at the top of the heap.

While we wait for This Is Why, we’re going through 10 of the group’s best songs from the past decade. From “All I Wanted” to “Misery Business” here are a few songs that you should revisit from emo’s best and brightest.

10. “Pressure”

Picture this: it’s 2005, you’re in a Hot Topic and you’re likely buying something studded and black. Coming out over the speakers is Hayley Williams belting out the line I can feel the pressure / It’s getting closer now. Everything is as it should be.

Few bands are as evocative of the early ’00s alt scene as Paramore is. Stewards of the genre, their first album – All We Know Is Falling – was the blueprint for many a burgeoning rock band jamming out in someone’s garage. While there is no shortage of gems on the 10-track album, we have to go with “Pressure” for our first pick on the “best of Paramore list.”

9. “Decode”

Flash forward a few years and Paramore is now a household name thanks to the delightfully snide “Misery Business” (more on this later). Capitalizing on their success, the band landed a spot on the soundtrack for the highly anticipated Twilight film. Who better to score all that moody, teenage romance than Paramore? Their end-credit song “Decode” remains a shining showcase of Williams’ vocals. Few rock singers in recent memory can hold a candle to her range.

8. “All I Wanted”

Speaking of Williams’ incomparable vocals, “All I Wanted” is one of her most impressive performances to date. The soaring high note she hits in the final chorus is an iconic moment in the emo sphere. Recently garnering some renewed attention thanks to Tik Tok, the band brought the song back out for their set at the When We Were Young Festival. Williams sounds just as good—if not better— than she did in 2009.

7. “Rose-Colored Boy”

The band’s fifth studio album, After Laughter, saw a stark shift in their musicality. Following in the vein of “Ain’t It Fun” and “Still Into You” from their previous effort, the LP featured a healthy dose of buoyant, pop-laced beats. Never fret, they kept their emo roots alive within their lyrics. Williams sings in “Rose-Colored Boy,” Just let me cry a little bit longer / I ain’t gon’ smile if I don’t want to. With this track leading the way, the band dipped into a new wave sound with ease.

6. “Grow Up”

As a testament to the appeal of “Grow Up,” this song found its way to the rock charts despite not being released as a single. It’s an earworm through and through. Like much of their self-titled album, the ’80s-Esque groove in this track is impossible to shun.

Williams spoke to MTV about the song’s message, saying, “There seemed to be this thread in my brain about people who just really need to grow up and maybe open up their mind a little bit, and for me, as a girl, I’ve always sort of done things the way that I wanted to do them, and sometimes you get backlash for that. And I think it’s really important just to love who you are.”

5. “Ain’t It Fun”

“Ain’t It Fun” was Paramore’s highest-peaking single upon its release, landing at No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. With the band co-opting a more pop radio-friendly sound, it’s not hard to understand why this song exploded the way it did. To this day, there’s a fair chance that “Ain’t It Fun” will come on in the rotation of your local pop station—not that we’re complaining, it’s an unwavering bop.

4. “Let The Flames Begin” (Live at Red Rocks Amphitheater)

Paramore included a number of live tracks on the deluxe version of their self-titled album, including a version of “Let The Flames Begin” recorded at Red Rocks Amphitheater. The Riot! cut speaks to the struggle of keeping your faith during hard times. In the live version of the track, Williams sheds her inhibitions, falls to her knees, and begins to pray, Well, I am ready / Won’t you let it begin? / ‘Cause I am here now / I want to dance in / The mighty palm of your hands. Whether you are religious or not, the passion she imbues in this performance cuts straight to the heart.

3. “The Only Exception”

“The Only Exception” saw Paramore at its most vulnerable. Williams told Alternative Press in 2009, “This is the first love song I’ve ever written. And even if I’ve tried in the past, this is the first one that I’m really proud of. I like that I was able to express the fact that I have always been really afraid of love—and I still am at times—but the excitement and the hope that it exists is still very evident in the lyrics. So it’s not like I’m a total cynic! Love is a good thing, kids.” While their amped-up rock offerings surely excite, this gem of a ballad features some of their best songwriting efforts.

2. “Last Hope”

A slight deep cut from their self-titled album, “Last Hope” is a slow-building ode to getting better—complete with stunning strings and spacey guitar lines. When they finally reach the crest of the song, a chorus of voices join Williams to sing got to let it happen. In our opinion, “Last Hope” is a criminally underrated track in the Paramore catalog. It both proliferates the usual Paramore talking points and ups the ante tenfold. If you haven’t already listened to this one, we assure you it’s well worth its five-minute runtime.

1. “Misery Business”

Despite being their breakthrough hit, “Misery Business” caught a lot of flack amid the #metoo movement. Williams has a few choice words for her ex’s new girl, saying, Once a whore, you’re nothing more / I’m sorry, that’ll never change. The Internet effectively cancelled the track around 2017, with the band taking it out of their live show completely.

Years have passed, the internet has changed its tune, and “Misery Business” has found its way back into Paramore’s setlist. Screaming along to the chorus is a cathartic experience. It’s a perennial hit of the early ’00s and remains the group’s signature track.

Paramore (Photo: Lindsey Byrnes)

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