Music Notes

How Paramore Is Challenging The Stigma Of Depression And Anxiety Through Music

"We hope ... someone was made to feel less alone."

Visit Music Notes to let A Plus "note" the new songs, videos, and artists you should be paying attention to, as well as discuss noteworthy performances by veterans and rookies at award and talent shows. 

Earlier this week, Paramore appeared on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert to perform their most recent single "Rose-Colored Boy," from their 2017 album After Laughter. The energetic performance caught the internet's attention, and on Thursday, the band chose to reveal the meaning behind the song and shared a powerful message about mental health in the process.


In a brief Twitter thread which has earned tens of thousands of retweets and likes, the band explains that the song is "about feeling pressured to look at the world with blind optimism when you actually feel very hopeless about the world & your part in it," adding that "there is so much social pressure to be (or appear to be) 'happy' that we can actually feel shame when we aren't."

"It's hard enough to deal with sadness, depression, or any type of anxiety without the added societal expectations," the band continued, encouraging empathy and adding their hope that "someone was made to feel less alone" by hearing the song.

"Just let me cry a little bit longer / I ain't gon' smile if I don't want to," lead singer Hayley Williams sings on the track. "Hey man, we all can't be like you / I wish we were all rose-colored too / My rose-colored boy."

The band's message comes at a perfect time, as May is Mental Health Awareness Month. However, they've opened up about mental health before. Both Williams and bandmate Taylor York have suffered from depression, and Williams even privately quit the band in 2015.

"For the first time in my life, there wasn't a pinhole of light at the end of the tunnel. I thought, I just wish everything would stop," Williams told Fader of her experience, and her choice to see a therapist. "It wasn't in the sense of, I'm going to take my life. It was just hopelessness. Like, What's the point? I don't think I understood how dangerous hopelessness is. Everything hurts."

Fans praised the band on Twitter for tackling the stigma that often accompanies depression and other mental illnesses. It's a topic you can hear about elsewhere on Paramore's newest album, particularly on the song "Fake Happy," in which the band touches on the facade people put up to hide their sadness.

"Oh please don't ask me how I've been / Don't make me play pretend," Williams sings. "Oh no, oh-oh what's the use? / Oh please, I bet everybody here is fake happy too."

Check out the band's Colbert performance and the "Rose-Colored Boy" music video below:

(H/T: NME)

Cover image: yakub88 /


Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest news and exclusive updates.