Hayley Williams on Paramore’s ‘Misery Business’ Getting Un-Canceled: ‘Make It Make Sense’

For the first time in years, Paramore added “Misery Business” back to their setlist. During their California concert, Hayley Williams commented on this song getting canceled — and then TikTok saying it was “ok” again.

Paramore removed ‘Misery Business’ from their setlist following ‘anti-feminist’ criticism

Hayley Williams of Paramore performs at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival
Hayley Williams of Paramore performs at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival | Josh Brasted/WireImage via Getty Images

In conjunction with 2007’s Riot, Paramore released “Misery Business” and its corresponding music video. It became a fan-favorite release, earning over 545 million Spotify plays since its debut. In recent years, though, the song received criticism for its “anti-feminist” lyrics.

“Second chances they don’t ever matter, people never change,” Williams sings in the second verse. “Once a whore, you’re nothing more.”

Following criticism from some listeners, Paramore removed “Misery Business” from their set, officially retiring their tradition of bringing a fan on stage. Paramore even took a step back from the spotlight, with Williams appearing onstage with Olivia Rodrigo and the band announcing their 2022 comeback. 

In 2022, Paramore again performed ‘Misery Business’ live, with Hayley Williams commenting TikTok deciding it was ‘ok’

While performing in Bakersfield, California, the band performed “Misery Business” for the first time since 2018. After the second verse, the vocalist paused to share her thoughts on the song and Paramore’s choice to add it to the setlist.

“Four years ago, we said we were gonna retire this song for a little while, and I guess technically we did,” Williams said. “But what we did not know was that, just about five minutes after I got canceled for saying the word ‘whore’ in a song, all of TikTok decided that it was ok. Make it make sense.” 

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This was just one performance along Paramore’s 2022 tour, with the band even stopping at Last Vegas’ When We Were Young festival. Before finishing their “Misery Business” performance, though, Williams mentioned the song’s impact — and the inclusion of “whore.”

“I guess what I’m trying to say is… it’s a word,” Williams continued. “And if you’re cool, you won’t call a woman a whore because that’s bulls***. We can all learn from ourselves, right? Just for the record, 90% of you said ‘whore’ tonight. That’s all I’m gonna say – I’m not gonna preach about it.” 

“I’m just gonna say thank you for being nostalgic about this because this is one of the coolest moments of our show and it’s very nice to feel like there’s a reason to bring it back that’s positive,” the singer added. 

“Misery Business” even inspired Olivia Rodrigo’s “Good 4 U,” released on Sour, with Rodrigo giving Williams and Josh Farro songwriting credits on the 2021 release.

“What’s so beautiful about music is that it can be so inspired by music that’s come out in the past,” she said in a statement to Teen Vogue’s print issue. “Every single artist is inspired by artists who have come before them. It’s sort of a fun, beautiful sharing process.”