Paramore just released their newest single, “Hard Times,” TODAY, and it’s probably the best thing I’ve ever heard in a really long time.
Go watch the music video/listen to it on Spotify/iTunes etc. Just LISTEN to it, please. It’s my jam, and I didn’t know I needed it until I listened to it today.
Now, I’ll readily admit that I’m an avid fan of 80s music/movies, heck The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles are two of my favorite movies (along with probably almost any other 80s movie), so of course I’m loving the 80s vibe we’re getting, but that doesn’t blind me from the fact that the lyrics of this song are powerful.
I’ll also admit that yes, I’m still learning about music from the 80s, and 70s, and so on because there is a FUCK ton (Sorry, Mom) of music out there. Also, I was born in ’94, so you can’t expect me to know every single thing about music. At least not yet anyway.
There was also a point in my life when all I listened to was Hilary Duff and Cher. I’m not ashamed of it, but thank God I found other music. But that’s a story for another time.
Back to Paramore.
What makes me love this song, what makes me love any song really, is the lyrics. I’m pretty sure I’ve said this here before many times, but what’s the point of a catchy as fuck (Sorry, Mom) song if the lyrics are shit?
No point, that’s what.
Paramore never fails to produce catchy music and kick-ass lyrics.
Paramore’s lyrics in “Hard Times” are so good, I think, because they’re open and honest, and deeply personal to the experiences of the band itself, but they’re still super relatable, which is what every song should do.
Let’s take a look at the lyrics.
All that I want
Is to wake up fine
Tell me that I’m alright
That I Ain’t gonna die
All that I want
Is a hole in the ground
You can tell me when it’s alright
For me to come out
Gonna make you wonder why you even try
Gonna take you down and laugh when you cry
And I still don’t know how I even survive
and I gotta get to rock bottom
With my little raincloud
Hanging over my head
And it ain’t coming down
Where do I go?
Gimme some sort of sign
Hit me with lightning!
Maybe I’ll come alive
Tell my friends I’m coming down
We’ll kick it when I hit the ground
I relate to the first verse on a deep, personal level, and I’m sure everyone at some point in time has felt this feeling of wanting to hide during hard times. Who doesn’t want to hide in a hole during an awful period, wanting and wishing to wake up fine every day?
I know this is exactly how I feel today. Today was a whirlwind of emotions for me, but then I heard this song, and a little piece of me was like, “Okay, this is fine, I’ll be okay, I’m not alone.”
Then we get to the chorus, with the repetition of “hard times” throughout the entire chorus, and it’s an anthem. But I don’t think it’s the repetition of “hard times” that makes it an anthem.
It’s the other lines, the lines after “hard times,” the lines that say, “gonna make you wonder why you even try,” and “gonna take you down and laugh when you cry” and so on, that make this song an anthem.
Even with the last line, “and I gotta get to rock bottom,” which is not something anyone wants to do, adds to it because everyone knows once you hit rock bottom, all you can do is go up.
That sounds very cliché, and it is cliché, but it’s true. Where else can you go but up? Sometimes we need to hit rock bottom so that we can wake up fine, and I think that’s what Paramore is suggesting with this song and its lyrics.
The second verse does the same thing as the first verse, letting the details speak for themselves, and even though we’ve heard the whole, “I’ve got a rain cloud over my head” over and over again, this cliché is new because of the last line two lines of the verse that say, “Hit me with lightning/Maybe I’ll come alive.”
First of all, that’s very visual, second of all, no one expects to be hit with lightning and survive, even though it’s a thing that does happen.
The sentiment here is what makes this cliché new, and in turn, makes this second verse just as good as the first verse. Anytime you can take a cliché and turn it into a surprise is good writing at work.
Again, we’re hit the chorus, but then we get to the bridge, which is just a simple repetition of the two lines that sound bad, but really aren’t. It goes back to the last line of the chorus almost, reminding us that in order for things to get better, sometimes we have to fall.
The song ends with the super catchy chorus repeated twice, and honestly, I’ll probably be listening to this song until I graduate in two weeks and even after as I search for jobs.
All of these lines are spot on as to how I feel whenever I’m going through a rough day, and I’m sure everyone else has felt this too. Universality is another great element of any kind of writing, songwriting included.
I think the simplicity of these lyrics is what makes them so awesome as well. They’re not trying too hard, only plainly stating what’s happening, letting the words speak for themselves.
In all the writing classes I’ve taken in the past four years, I’ve been told over and over again to let the details speak for themselves; though these lyrics are simple by themselves when sectioned off, together they create an anthem that makes me remember hard times don’t last, but they do make us better.
This song is a reminder that I’ll eventually be okay.
That’s all I have for you this week! Stay tuned for more, and as always, send me requests for songs to look at, if you have any!