paramore 2017 hayley williams petals for armor
[Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Ralph PH]

Hayley Williams just dropped her first single from Petals For Armor. The song is called “Simmer” and is her first foray into music that is 100% hers. The dark visuals and themes are a far cry from her day job in Paramore but Williams recently expressed she needed to take some time off and let herself come to terms with certain emotions.

Those emotions are expected to shine through on Petals For Armor which Williams recently detailed in an interview.

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Paramore ended the After Laughter cycle and retired “Misery Business” in September 2018, and they haven’t played together since. Not much was said about the future of Paramore until June 2019 when they posted a muted video. Nothing transpired from it, however, and Williams does regret leaving fans question the band’s future. They took to Instagram, sharing a year-end post reflecting on the band’s time together before clarifying it didn’t mean a breakup was in store.

While Williams has released her fair share of vocal features—the most recent with American Football marking her only music since After Laughter—“Simmer” is the first song that’s 100% hers.

In a recent interview with Annie Mac on BBC Radio 1, Hayley Williams discusses all manner of things from the album’s title to why she need to take time away from Paramore to begin with.

When asked about the origins of Petals For Armor, Williams first states that it is a lyric but then divulges the meaning behind it.

“It’s part of a lyric in “Simmer.” A while ago, I went to this cranial-sacral masseuse. Maybe a lot of people might consider that a kind of woo woo witch doctor but I’ll take any help I can get,” Williams says. “I was laying on her table and I started having these weirdly creepy visions of flowers growing out of me – and not in a beautiful way, it was very painful and very grotesque but I kind of realised in that moment there was a lot that was trying so hard to grow out of me and it was going to hurt to do it.”

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“I think, for me, it’s somewhat of a mantra to try and stay soft in a really, really hard world and feel pain and let all of it come to you and try and put out something that can redeem it all, even if it’s ugly at first. The lyric is “wrap yourself in petals for armor” because I kept feeling like the way for me to protect myself best is to be vulnerable and be OK with having a lot of pain at certain times and also feeling a lot of joy at certain times.

“As long as I’m staying soft to those things and I’m open to letting those things in and out of me then I actually can survive the world a lot easier than if I stay hard and with my fists up all the time.”

As stated earlier, Williams has released music with Paramore for more than 15 years, kicking things off with All We Know Is Falling in 2005. Four albums and countless accolades later, the band released their fifth LP, After Laughter, in 2017.

Paramore hasn’t played together since 2018. Williams has discussed some reasons for the time off and why she felt she needed to do it.

Read More: Hayley Williams escapes herself in solo song debut “Simmer”

“I’m in a band with my favorite musicians so I never really feel the need to step into a role as a player when it comes to Paramore records. This project, however, benefited from a little bit of musical naïveté and rawness and so I experimented quite a bit more. I made this with some of the closest people to me. Their respective talents really shine bright throughout the record.

“I like to think we all make each other better and the result is something that sounds and feels exactly as I’d hoped it would. Now that it’s time to put it all out there, I can finally exhale. I’m excited to let people in to experience a different side of myself that I’ve only very recently become familiar with.”

Williams needed to become vulnerable and explore a side of her that she was unfamiliar with, both emotionally and musically. Good news for Paramore fans though because Williams says that this growth will definitely shape whatever project comes next.

“I do believe when it’s time for us to make the next Paramore record there will be just as transparent lyrics and hopefully really visceral feelings that come across. I wouldn’t have had access to this stuff if we didn’t just pause and get quiet for a minute.”

Petals For Armor will drop May 8 via Atlantic. Listen to Hayley Williams’ “Simmer” below and see for yourself just what a feat she has accomplished.

Tell us what you think of Hayley Williams’s “Simmer” in the comments below!

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