When I was 17, I started writing lyrics to a song that would later be called “Let The Flames Begin”. It was on our sophomore album, RIOT! I never felt like it really sounded as meaningful on record as it seemed when we played it live. Over the years, we added on and added on to it. Not only is it one of our favorites to play at shows but one of the most highly requested live songs by… ahem… you guys. Maybe it’s just because the song is heavier than most our other songs or maybe it’s cause it feels really emotional to sing some of those words. Either way, it means a lot to all of us.
The lyrics touched on the way I saw us (people who were around my same age at the time) and how we fit in to society… and sort of lightly dusted the topic of the human condition. How broken we must seem from the outside, to whoever happens to be looking in. I have always had that deep sort of hurting feeling that happens when you hear a tragic story of someone young who is diagnosed with a terminal sickness, or when you see someone homeless and begging on the side of the road who you could give a couple dollars to but could never really help… but I get it all the time… just about the world at large. Because I feel, truly and deeply, that we are all searching for some kind of cure or some kind of quick fix, all the time. Always filling a void. I do this every day even when I’m not aware. The condition of being alive and breathing. “How can I please me?” It’s not with pessimistic eyes that I see all these things, I just believe it’s realistic. For some people, there is faith that more is at work than just the brokenness of all of us. For others, it’s enough just to know that we try to be the best human we can be and make whatever difference we can. Whatever your pleasure, belief, sorrow or triumph… we are all human and we are all constantly facing some sort of brokenness. Of the heart, of finances, of family, of dreams… it is real pain and it can’t be ignored.
Sometimes the only thing that gets me through a hard time is knowing that we are all (somewhat) in the fight together. Even as we might feel like we’re fighting alone, there billions of other humans doing exactly the same thing. In whatever their respective fights may be. I don’t know how it helps but really, it does. To know that no one has it figured out. It’s a bit of a drag but it’s just good comfort.
Seeing as even a good 6 years later I still feel all these things about life and being human, it probably should’ve been obvious that we’d write another song with a similar message for the new album. This time around I feel like it comes across a bit more hopeless… but actually that’s what excites me the most about it. To me, it’s getting to the bottom of what you thought was a bottomless pit… and that’s where you surrender yourself to whatever is next. That’s what billions of other people are doing right now. Hitting the bottom only to lift their gaze up and figure out how to get off of the ground again. Yeah, knowing that definitely helps.
It’s strange that a song about all this could go on what is about to be the most positive and most intoxicatingly fun Paramore album we have ever written… but somehow it works. And anyways, anyone who knows me knows I can only write so many happy lyrics til I have to start venting about something else again.
This is long and it’s late and I hope it makes sense to anyone if not all of you who actually read it.