At a hometown show in Nashville, TN, Paramore retired the song that put them on the map as a fledgling band in 2007. An outright emo-punk hit, “Misery Business” received backlash in recent years with people accusing the lyrics (and by association their writer, lead singer Hayley Williams) of being anti-feminist. While Williams addressed the criticism back in 2015, the band now decided that it was time to retire the song from their live shows.
“This is to every bad decision that led us here, this is to all the embarrassing things we might have said, but we owned up to it and we grew,” said Williams before kicking off the song. The lyric in question comes from the second verse: “Once a whore, you’re nothing more, I’m sorry, that will never change.” Williams wrote the song when she was 17. Many of us, teens ourselves at the time, sang along without a second thought. But that is the nature of growth, we learn and we realize that not all of our opinions are right. If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll learn from it and emerge a more understanding and empathetic person. In the more than 10 years since the song was released, Williams and the rest of Paramore clearly have.
“It was quite literally a page in my diary about a singular moment I experienced as a high schooler…and that’s the funny part about growing up in a band with any degree of success. People still have my diary. The past and the present. All the good AND bad and embarrassing of it!” Williams wrote on her Tumblr in 2015.
None of us want to be judged by the contents of our 17-year-old diaries. We’d prefer to be seen as the version of ourselves we tried hard to become, and Paramore’s fans have chosen to see the band as the latter. They joined the band in their request to send off “Misery Business” with a toast of energy and love. Besides, Paramore has plenty of other hits for us to blast in the car.