Sometimes, good things — even great things — that you remember from your childhood are actually problematic. Paramore's hit song "Misery Business" is one of those things. And due to the problematic nature of some of the lyrics, Hayley Williams said that Paramore won't perform "Misery Business" anymore, per The Independent.
Paramore performed Sept. 7 in Nashville, and right before leading into the song, lead singer Williams announced that they're laying the song to rest, for at least the time being. According to The Independent's report, the singer told the crowd, "Tonight, we're playing this song for the last time for a very long time." She continued:
"This is a choice we made because we feel like we should. We feel like it's time to move away from it for a little while."
The song is a classic in the pop punk/rock genre, and a beloved song for any fan of Paramore. It has everything you'd want from them: a great guitar opening, angsty lyrics, and a chorus you can belt out to no matter what the occasion. Yet, the controversy surrounding the song boils down to the lyrics, "Once a whore, you're nothing more/ I'm sorry, that will never change." It has been critiqued since its 2007 release, and continues to be controversial today.
The song is from the point of view of a disgruntled friend/lover of a guy who used to date a not-so-pleasant person. That person is seemingly gorgeous and really ticked off that the singer is with her ex. Basically the rest of the song is celebration over snagging the guy and annoying his ex.
In an interview with Track 7 last year, Williams reflected on that one line from the song. "I was a 17-year-old kid when I wrote the lyrics in question," she said, "and if I can somehow exemplify what it means to grow up, get information and become any shade of 'woke,' then that's A-OK with me." The band's acknowledgement of the song's problematic lyrics shows that there isn't any bad blood between their critics and themselves, but rather a realization that growth is necessary. Williams told Track 7,
What I couldn’t have known at the time was that I was feeding into a lie that I’d bought into, just like so many other teenagers -- and many adults -- before me...The whole, ‘I’m not like the other girls’ thing… this ‘cool girl’ religion. What even is that? Who are the gatekeepers of ‘cool’ anyway? Are they all men? Are they women that we’ve put on top of an unreachable pedestal?
Back in 2015, Williams also addressed "Misery Business" as being "anti-feminist" in a Tumblr post when criticism surfaced about her possibly not being a feminist. She wrote, "'Misery Business' is not a set of lyrics that I relate to as a 26-year-old woman. I haven't related to it in a very long time. Those words were written when I was 17… Admittedly, from a very narrow-minded perspective."
Calling a woman a whore, just because of society's inclination to slut-shame, and police women's sexuality, is not OK, and Paramore's decision to retire the song indicates that they agree. By no longer playing "Misery Business" live, the band is making an important statement about growth that everyone can learn from.