Hayley Williams kicks off solo career with single ‘Simmer’
As Hayley Williams was always busy being the face and voice of popular punk pop band Paramore, she never took the time to work on a solo career. Now, almost fifteen years after the band launched their first record, she is pursuing a career of her own. With Paramore, she released hits like ‘Misery Business’, ‘Decode’ and ‘The Only Exception’, while they made a move towards lighter more synth driven pop with their 2017 album After Laughter. In 2010, she tasted a bit of solo success when she provided the chorus for B.o.B.’s ‘Airplanes’ under her own name. Now she is ready for her actual solo career with her debut single ‘Simmer’ and upcoming album Petals For Armor, out on May 8th.
It is safe to say that ‘Simmer’, although co-written by Paramore members Joe Howard and Taylor York who also produced the tune, is a complete departure from anything she has done before with the band. The track opens with vocal samples and an extended drum driven intro and carries a menacing dark vibe from the very beginning. Her vocals sound restrained, but always feel close to a boiling point throughout the tune, adding to the uneasy suspense that the song thrives on. The chorus has a proper hook that plays with our expectations, but never serves the emotional release, keeping the tension in the tune very much alive. The lyrics are dark as well, talking about how Hayley deals with feelings of anger and rage. Her delivery of the lines “And if my child needed protection, from a fucker like that man, I’d sooner gut him, ’cause nothing cuts like a mother” is restrained yet so intense you almost want to stop and gasp for air. The middle-eight is stunningly chaotic and introduces the album title for the first time, only for the chorus to come back once more and hit harder than before. In terms of genre, one could best describe the tune as left field alt-pop with hints of Kate Bush and Florence + the Machine in the songwriting and melodies, but production wise this is unlike anything out there at the moment.
In the matching dark video, we see Williams run from something during full moon. There is a lot of chasing and running going on and the video seems to end on a murderous note. To say that Hayley Williams solo debut is intriguing is an understatement. I can already say that Petals For Armor is one of my most anticipated record of the year.