Paramore's Hayley Williams on Controversial 'Misery Business' Lyric: 'I Was a 17-Year-Old Kid'

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for CBS Radio Inc.
Hayley Williams of Paramore performs onstage at KROQ Weenie Roast y Fiesta 2017 at StubHub Center on May 20, 2017 in Carson, Calif. 

"What I couldn’t have known at the time was that I was feeding into a lie that I’d bought into," she says in new interview.

It's been 10 years since Paramore released "Misery Business," the lead single from their second studio album Riot! In that decade, lead singer Hayley Williams has grown up -- as have her views on her fellow women.

In a new interview with Track 7, Williams talked about a controversial, seemingly anti-feminist lyric from the band's breakout single: "Once a whore, you’re nothing more/ I’m sorry, that will never change.”

"The thing that annoyed me was that I had already done so much soul-searching about it, years before anyone else had decided there was an issue," she told Track 7. "When the article began circulating, I sort of had to go and rehash everything in front of everybody. It was important, however, for me to show humility in that moment."

Williams went on to explain that she was just a teenager when she wrote the lyrics, and that particular line was taken from a page in her diary. "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 singer said. "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?"

To show her rejection of the lyrics' implications, Williams chose not to sing the line at a recent performance at the Royal Albert Hall in London, saying, "I do like to know at the end of the day that I tried to do the right thing."

"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."


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