Wednesday, November 29th, 2017

Paramore – Fake Happy

And its corresponding feeling, the fake likey…


Alfred Soto: Paramore know about fake happy. Their best songs scoff any notion of the romantic hangover, sneer at matching form and content. The slight hysteria in the chorus (“ohhhh PLEASE”), however, complements the plastic skank and programmed sounds. Whether these bits are enough to disinter a moribund record we’ll find out soon enough; at best it may remind listeners that Paramore’s songwriting continues to deepen.

Will Adams: It’s easy to be drawn in by the fuzzed-out intro and subsequent synth bursts, but “fake happy” as a concept is too on-the-nose. Like the frowny emojis superimposed on everyone’s faces in the video, it’s telling instead of showing.

Ashley John: I read The Catcher in the Rye on my own a year before it was assigned reading, and I remember thanking Salinger for putting into words the teenage isolation that plagued me. A year later when we dissected it in my junior English class, my teacher stunned 17-year old me by saying that Holden Caulfield is actually insufferable. “Fake Happy” gives me remnants of that feeling, though I think Hayley Williams’ storytelling is sturdier against the wear of time. At one angle “Fake Happy” is petulant and tired, but Williams gives the tale of repressed emotions a new slant. Unlike Holden, she’s resigned to playing the part, wearing the mask, bearing her teeth, because she knows that we all are doing the same. 

Ryo Miyauchi: “Fake happy” is a rather makeshift phrase to describe this condition, though this is one of those times where language fails to provide an exact word. Hayley Williams’s voice isn’t precise either, better suited to carry emotional rawness than anything poetic. But the rough materials are exactly what’s needed for this song, where no wise metaphor can provide the relief or impact of just shouting out the matter.

Edward Okulicz: It’s interesting how “Fake Happy” gets so much into four minutes, from the acoustic intro to the ba-da-da middle section (cut from the same cloth as “Ain’t It Fun”). But this otherwise impeccable-sounding track is damaged by cookie-cutter lyrics (“mascara tears,” really?) and a chorus that doesn’t catch fire no matter how much gas Hayley Wiliams pours on it.

Stephen Eisermann: The verses and pre-chorus are cool, and the song offers an interesting premise, but that chorus, man — talk about a song killer. I can’t even hear a melody in it. If they had just toned down the guitar, turned down the volume, and reminded Hayley that you don’t have to yell in every song, this could’ve been way better. 

Katherine St Asaph: Discovery: Acoustic Hayley Williams sounds startlingly like Christine Fellows, though I’m sure I’m just falling for fake plaintive that lasts 30 seconds. The lyric has been done better by virtually everyone, and the comparisons that strike me aren’t nearly as welcome (the melodies are Shontelle’s “Impossible,” the chorus is some slab of Southern-rock steak, the bridge is the same ironic-jingle cliche that diluted St. Vincent’s “Pills”) but that’s not as much of a problem as the colorless neon ’80s perking fustily all over everything. I think this makes me a rockist now?

Joshua Minsoo Kim: The acoustic intro is a mistake, drawing attention to the seriousness of the song while spoiling the impact of the chorus’s final line. Even then, “Fake Happy” is exceedingly drab, its dull synthesizers and self-referential “bada-bada-ba-ba” bridge being the biggest culprits. But this is a song for Hayley, and the chorus is an opportunity for catharsis. I don’t think I fully understood that until I tried singing it myself, drowning everything around me out (including the instrumentation).

Hannah Jocelyn: This song is a masterclass in less-is-more; the entire verse and pre-chorus hang on Cmaj7, building suspense until it finally resolves on G major in the chorus. Even the intensely glossy production can’t stop the entrance —  “OH PLEASE!” —  from hitting with maximum impact. As wonderful as Hayley’s performance and lyrics are, Zac Farro’s drumming carries “Fake Happy,” like a friend insisting you go out and stop with all your “it’s not real” crap. Hayley’s lyrics are not Wallflower-y in the slightest, though, because the “everyone” includes herself, trying to exist when all signs point to existence not being that great.

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One Response to “Paramore – Fake Happy”

  1. for a second I thought that was a Happy Negg in the picture