Paramore have already had a prolific career to this point, with four stellar albums over the course of 10 years and a Grammy to boot. Through lineup adjustments and sound changes, Paramore has continued to deliver singles that have had monumental success. Beyond the surface of their success, however, are so many underappreciated tracks and rarities the band have churned out along the way. We picked our top 10 of Paramore’s best lesser-known works, pulling from compilations, soundtracks, b-sides, and some deeper LP cuts.
EDIT: The album The B Sides, referenced multiple times in this list, is actually considered to be a fanmade compilation, never formally released by the band or their label.
10. “My Hero” (Sound Of Superman, 2006)
This Foo Fighters cover was released right on the heels of All We Know Is Falling, while fans were scrambling to hear anything else from the then-brand new band. The acoustic rendition is gentle and heartwarming.
9. “Fences” (Riot!, 2007)
Everything on Riot! is a classic, but “Fences” still manages to be a standout on an LP chockful of singles. The witty, cutting lyrics harken back to the nostalgic “Misery Business” era Hayley.
8. “Oh Star” (The B Sides, 2014)
“Oh Star” was recorded back in 2005, but never formally released until the extremely rare album, The B Sides, in 2014. Luckily, it will be included with the 10th anniversary edition of All We Know Is Falling, along with “This Circle.” The track features the same crooning vocals and distorted power chords reminiscent of the darker tracks on All We Know Is Falling, like “My Heart” and “Conspiracy.”
7. “Native Tongue” (Self-Titled Deluxe, 2014)
This bonus track off of Self-Titled is packed with punchy pop sensibility. “Native Tongue” has the same happy love song vibe that’s a consistent theme in the album, alluding to sharing a language with your lover: “And when you’re talking code to me, I can translate it.”
6. “Anklebiters” (Paramore, 2013)
“Anklebiters” is short but sweet, angry but incisive. “Why do you care what people think/Are you hooked up to their leash?” asks Williams at a near-scream over anthemic drum beats, with chiming notes speckled over a punk-rock foundation. The track, clocking in under three minutes, is incredibly effective.
5. “I Caught Myself” (Twilight (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack), 2008)
Somehow “Decode” managed to get all of the attention over the second track Paramore wrote for the Twilight soundtrack. “I Caught Myself” is by far the more lyrically interesting track. While “Decode” is almost out of character, “I Caught Myself” is a particularly refined product of Paramore’s sound.
4. “Decoy” (The B Sides, 2014)
Recorded in 2007, this song has unbelievable performance power, which is probably why the only time it ever saw the light of day before The B Sides was during live shows. It’s a mystery to me why the song was never officially released until then, since it seems to fit perfectly in the Riot! tracklist. The song regularly had a place on the Riot! touring circuit and is still a fan favorite.
3. “In The Mourning” (Singles Club EP, 2011)
Paramore’s acoustic tracks (“Misguided Ghosts,” “The Only Exception”) have a special place in fans’ hearts, which might be why “In The Mourning” was so well received. The song was first premiered in a livestream, and was released on the Singles Club EP when it was met with such a positive response. After its release, the band performed it live, mashed up with “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac.
2. “All I Wanted” (Brand New Eyes, 2009)
The fact that there’s no known instance of this song being played live is probably the greatest tragedy of Paramore’s performance career. The opening electric guitar plucking is haunting from the start, and is only complemented by Hayley’s low serenade of “Think of me when you’re out, when you’re there/I’ll beg you nice from my knees.” The song, however, got its spot on this list because of the unbelievable octave change and crescendo about midway through the song. Again: how have they never played this live?
1. “Last Hope” (Paramore, 2013)
Okay, so “Last Hope” isn’t exactly a deep cut, considering the live video has racked up well over 10 million views on YouTube. But it’s easy to see why: every facet of the song is meticulously arranged, dynamically and melodically. The lone electric guitar in the opening is a soft entrance into a six-minute experience. After the background drops out for the bridge, Williams’ soft voice delivers achingly beautiful lyrics. As the drums set up intrigue with a heartbeat rhythm (“And the blood in these veins isn’t pumping any less than it ever has”), the catharsis still feels fresh every time when all the instruments come crashing back in for the chorus. Tears, every single time. “Last Hope” will probably inspire more lyric tattoos than any other song in Paramore’s discography, and is, in this writer’s humble opinion, the best song in the band’s entire body of work.
There are way too many fantastic Paramore tracks to fit every single one that deserved to be on this list. Which ones did we miss? Let us know in the comments.