As the current of youthful music continues to steer itself into a brick wall of creative decay, several artists around the world have stepped up and veered away from the antiquated abyss of pop music’s landscape.
Granted, selling out is far more profitable than it used to be, and throwing together some catchy beats with barely audible lyrics about nail polish and pleasuring sailors is an effective way to sell records (looking at you, Ke$ha), but that doesn’t mean that mainstream music has to be completely devoid of meaningful and honest lyrics.
“I guess a lot of people try to get attention by singing about drugs, alcohol and women or whatever,” says Paramore’s drummer Zac Farro. “But that’s not really what we’re about, so why the hell would we bother singing about it?”
As part of America’s new wave of creative rock, Paramore has become a throwback to the age of sincere music thanks to their unique sound and inspired sentiments.
Led by vivacious vocalist Hayley Williams—whom critics describe as the antithesis of contrived punk—Paramore boasts an eclectic catalog propelled by the platinum album Riot! The wildly popular and critically acclaimed disc—which includes Billboard-topping hits “Misery Business” and “That’s What You Get”—is not only a testament to the young group’s overwhelming talent, but also an insight into their lyrical integrity.
“We had to fight a little when we first started out in order to make sure we stayed true to what we wanted to do,” Farro says. “But eventually everybody involved with our music realized how important our faith was and how we wanted to keep our values in our music.”
Although Paramore, who currently tour with Christian rock sensation Relient K, is not the first group to fight for their scruples on the musical battlefield, their plight has become especially notable given the era in which they choose to do it. Without judging the moral fiber of a generation that supports prescription drug theft and Zach Braff movies, it is poignant to note that very few bands have reached the top of the alternative charts with religiously inspired tracks (for example, “Halleluja” and “My Heart”) and a complete lack of explicit or sexual lyrics in their albums.
“We never put too much stock into stuff like that,” Farro says. “We just put out the kind of music we like and hope people appreciate what we’re doing.”
Farro also claims that integrity is a slippery slope in the music business and staying true to your beliefs is the only way to produce quality tracks. “It’s really screwed up that people have to put out records just because they want to get rich or famous,” he says. “They end up singing about things that they don’t believe in, and that’s something we never wanted to have happen. If you’re in it to be famous or make money, you’re just in it for the wrong reason.”
While Farro and the rest of his bandmates have barely scratched the surface of their musical potential, the 19-year-old drummer claims that regardless of early success and industry pressure, the group plans to continue its sincere pursuits. “We’re just a bunch of friends playing the kind of music we like and I don’t know why we’d ever stop doing that,” Farro says. “If you don’t believe in what you’re playing, then what’s the point?”