Hayley Williams blazed a trail from teen angst to adult self-acceptance

Hayley Williams blazed a trail from teen angst to adult self-acceptance

The Guardian

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The Paramore rebel was my idol at 13. Having made great music in the face of sexism and trauma, she is my idol now too

Hayley Nicole Williams and I share a love of flowers, two of our given names, and a wealth of musical DNA. As the teenaged frontperson of Paramore, Williams soundtracked my desperate desire to fit in. As an adult, her solo work reminds me that it’s far more fun to be your principled self.

I first encountered Paramore during the boom of third-wave, MTV-era emo. I was around 13 and fanatical about music but in need of a vessel heavier than my beloved McFly through which to channel my new teenage angst. I suspect that Paramore’s single Emergency was what did it for me first – the video showed a red-haired 16-year-old Hayley in a ragged ballgown, dead roses in her lap, crying out for recognition: “So are you listening? / So are you watching me?”

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