Paramore Was My Escape As A Kid, And Here’s Why My Elder Emo Heart Will Keep Beating For Them


Paramore’s Australia and New Zealand Tour kicked off over the weekend in Auckland, and as a pop punk girlie (it’s not a phase, mom) who’s going to 3 different shows over the next week, I am beyond excited.

It has been a little over five years since Hayley Williams, Taylor York, and Zac Farro have hit Aussie shores, and it’s been incredibly overdue. In the last year alone, they have broken records, toured with Taylor Swift, released a remix version of their album Re: This Is Why, and have been nominated for Best Alternative Music Performance and Best Rock Album at the Grammys. Slay besties!

And the cherry on top? If Paramore nabs the award for Best Rock Album, Hayley Williams could be the first woman to win in this category since 1999, with Miss Williams (if ya nasty) joining legends Alanis Morissette and Sheryl Crow as the only women to win in this category, ever.

Paramore’s resurgence into mainstream music through their pop punk revival, paired with the pre-concert excitement I’m feeling, has only reinforced my love for them, and reminded me of how much Paramore has gotten me through Hard Times (heh).

Cue the sob story in 3… 2… 1.

Paramore’s Taylor York, Hayley Williams, and Zac Farro in NYC in 2018 for Live Nation’s celebration of the 4th annual National Concert Week. (Image: Getty.)

Paramore as the soundtrack to my life

The year was 2008, and I was midway through Year 7. I was 12 years old and had just gotten pink and green braces, blue rectangle wire framed glasses, and a deep side fringe. To top it off, I was painfully shy. A sight for sore eyes if you ask me! 

From then on and throughout the rest of my high school years, I was the subject of incessant bullying. Kids would aim spitballs at my glasses, point and laugh at my friends and I during lunch, and cover my legs in wax strips at sleepovers because the popular girls thought it was funny when they ripped them off while I cried. 

RIP to 12-year-old me.

So to say the least, high school was brutal for me, and those experiences and emotions I felt during that time are forever embedded deep in my subconscious. Sad girl vibes are truly a part of my personality now.

When I first learnt about Paramore, it was through my cousin. She was a few years older, so naturally I thought everything she liked was cool and I would happily take on any recommendations she had to try to up my own cool factor. She was obsessed with Twilight and showed me Paramore’s Decode – as well as the rest of the soundtrack, which is my Roman Empire tbh. 

At that point, Paramore and their music became an escape for me. I would anxiously wait to come home from school because that meant that I could listen to their music on my MP3 player all night. I would watch every interview that existed on YouTube at the time, and could tell you every band member’s full name and birthday off the top of my head. In hindsight, I was probably borderline very weird, but I needed something to distract myself with, OK?

Paramore performing at the Boston Calling Music Festival in 2023. (Image: Getty.)

Being introverted, socially awkward, and an easy target for bullies made it difficult for me to connect to others, even within my own friendship group. While we all gravitated towards one another because of our similar personalities, they were all so into the pop punk scene (think: extreme side fringes, bright red skinny jeans, and studded belts), and I had yet to find my way to relate. 

Paramore soon became my way in with my group of friends, and helped solidify our friendships and love over being Tumblr scene girlies.

Since then, Paramore has been the soundtrack of my life.

When I was 14, I learnt how to play every song on their Brand New Eyes album on both the acoustic and electric guitar.

At 19, I fell in love for the first time and I found out that my boyfriend also loved Paramore. We would listen to their B-sides on long drives in his bright yellow Toyota Corona, and dissect every song to pinpoint our favourite lines. 

When I was 22, I got two tattoos after their show in Melbourne in 2018 about their songs Hard Times and Fake Happy. Sad girl energy was loud that year.

Then at 25, I got my heart ripped out of my chest and listened to The Only Exception as I cried on my drive home. 

When I turned 26, I listened to 26 over and over again. Battling with my own demons (again), it amazed me how much a song could encapsulate everything I didn’t know how to express.

And finally, the entirety of This Is Why got me through every frustrating moment in my life over the last year. 

Not to be overly dramatic, but Paramore’s significance as a band in my life has been pivotal. They have been a distraction, a comfort, and an escape over the last 16 years of my life. It is so rare to still feel a connection to an artist you loved so much as a teenager, but Paramore’s music has truly matured and grown up with us elder emos. Their teen angst reflected our very own struggles as misunderstood adolescents, and now that we’re older, their music embodies the realities of adulthood and the chaos of the world. 

They’ve also just released some last minute tickets for their shows in Brisbane and Melbourne, so go grab ‘em here and fulfil your young emo self’s dreams with me.