Hayley Williams Addresses Paramore's Next Album, Salutes Ex-Members on Parahoy!'s Third Day
Also, Paramore performed “O Star” -- one of its oldest songs -- live for the first time.
Prior to Paramore’s March 7 Parahoy! performance, their set list somehow leaked online. “Hallelujah” was revealed as the opening song, but nobody knew this wouldn’t be just the band’s own song from its sophomore album. Before breaking into “Hallelujah” -- the Paramore song -- Hayley Williams belted a cover of Leonard Cohen’s immortal standard. It was a worthy lead-in to a set that proved to be a much-needed group therapy session, even moreso than the show two days prior, Paramore’s first in almost a year.
“This past year has been a year that for me, I never want to relive again,” Williams admitted midway through the evening show. “At the same time, I would do it again if it meant understanding what having a real friend in this life feels like. Taylor, thank you so much for being awesome.”
The crowd erupted into “PARAMORE!” chants as Williams shouted out guitarist Taylor York, now the only other rostered band member, following the Dec. 2015 departure of bassist Jeremy Davis. Williams didn’t speak of the incident in detail, though she did salute the band’s former members:
“It is an honor to play music with all the people that are here. It’s been an honor to play music with Josh [Farro], with Zac [Farro], with Jeremy, everyone that’s ever played with Paramore. It’s such an honor, to have friendship and music rolled into one thing… only god can do that. I’m just glad it’s not over because I want to keep doing it.”
Williams introduced the whole band, member-by-member earlier in the show than usual. This included a call-out for new bassist Joey Howard and a big “WE ARE PARAMORE” group salute.
Later on, Williams pledged to being the kindest version of herself in her 27th year: “People in life will sometimes take your kindness for weakness. But the bigger lesson is to not let that stop you from being kind.”
As for that follow-up to 2013’s self-titled album, Williams indicated the band’s fifth studio album will be here… eventually:
“We’ve been -- to be honest -- a lot slower than I thought we would be. Sometimes life happens…. I took a Twitter break. It was great; you should try it some time. We’re gonna go on and make a record for ya… We’ll keep you posted.”
The set included another rare treat, aside from the “Hallelujah” cover. Almost an hour into the show, Paramore performed one of its oldest songs, a sparse ballad called “O Star,” that fans normally can only hear on YouTube (unless they snagged the rare Summer Tic EP on the 2006 Warped Tour). “We’ve never really played this ever, I don’t think,” Williams said (concert database Setlist.fm agrees with her).
After describing how the Farro brothers first invited her into the band (this involved firing a former vocalist over AOL Instant Messenger) Williams described how “O Star” came together:
"At this point, I’m in the band, we’d written "Conspiracy," we definitely thought we were going to get a record deal with Tooth & Nail Records, or something. Because [drummer] Aaron [Gillespie] was on Tooth & Nail, that’s what we wanted. And then [guitarist] Taylor [York] and I got together for the first time after school and wrote for the first time ever. He was 12 years old, I think I’d just turned 13… We wrote this song pretty quickly."
All in all, the set was a resounding -- albeit emotionally dire -- success, featuring more of Paramore’s set staples than the previous show, which showcased much of its debut album.
Elsewhere, the cruise’s third day was a leisurely one, as cruisers spent the morning and afternoon docked in Cozumel, Mexico, free to explore the city. Upon departure, a storm that had hit the mainland earlier followed the ship out to sea, bringing heavy winds, though thankfully, only a few scattered rain drops. Paramore’s show was the main attraction, though Lights delivered a strong pool deck performance afterwards, and Chvrches held down a DJ set in the indoor atrium.
Billboard sat down for an interview with New Found Glory, in which guitarist Chad Gilbert discussed his and Hayley Williams’ recent wedding, along with the prospect of new music, and much more. Keep an eye out for that interview soon on Billboard.com, along with interviews with fellow cruisers Lights and X Ambassadors. We’ll be back tomorrow with the wrap-up of the cruise’s final day.