Paramore Enjoys Pop Makeover - And Biggest Hit

Ten years into their career, the alt-rockers have their biggest hit yet with 'Ain't It Fun'

At Z100's December 2013 Jingle Ball in New York's Madison Square Garden, Paramore frontwoman Hayley Williams predicted her band's biggest hit in its 10-year life span. "You're going to hear this a lot on the radio next year — get used to it!" she said, before jumping into the happy-go-lucky "Ain't It Fun."



The single, the third from the alt-rockers' 2013 self-titled set, has become Paramore's highest-charting yet. "Ain't It Fun" rose 26-21 on the Billboard Hot 100 dated May 3, catapulting past the band's previous biggest hits: 2010's "The Only Exception" and last year's "Still Into You," both of which peaked at No. 24. On the May 10 Hot 100, the song soars 21-14. It also becomes the act's first top 10 on Radio Songs, moving 14-10 with an 18 percent jump in audience impressions, according to Nielsen BDS.

" 'Ain't It Fun' is very different from songs we've written in the past," says Williams, noting its gospel-choir bridge and happy xylophone melody. "I grew up on pop, funk and soul. We really got to show off our roots in this song. I hope that our fans, especially the ones from our early days, can see how much we connect with the art we make today."

Paramore's live show assures fans that the group is still very much a rock band, but its current album cycle has been full of crossover firsts. After "Paramore," released April 5, 2013 on Fueled by Ramen/Atlantic, became the act's first LP to top the Billboard 200, lead single "Now" peaked at No. 13 on Alternative Songs. But "Still Into You" and "Ain't It Fun" became Hot 100 hits with support from mainstream pop and adult pop radio, without charting on — or even being serviced to — alternative stations.

"At their core, they're a rock band who made a pop record," says Fueled by Ramen and Roadrunner GM Mike Easterlin. "They could come back and make a rock record or album."

Williams paved the way for Paramore's crossover with two hit guest hooks: on rapper B.o.B's "Airplanes," which peaked at No. 2 on the Hot 100 in 2010, and EDM artist Zedd's "Stay the Night," which hit No. 18 last year. Fueled by Ramen even scheduled its single release around the latter, says Easterlin: "We planned to go from 'Still Into You' to 'Stay the Night' and then into 'Ain't It Fun.' "

The label will push the single through the summer (with an expected peak in June/July), during Paramore's amphitheater tour with Fall Out Boy from June 19 to Aug. 31.

As for Williams' Jingle Ball prediction, she says she was just trying to keep fans engaged: "We were one of few rock bands at Jingle Ball, so you're looking to keep the crowd pumped — and not just shouting, 'We want Miley!' "