Sunday Song Spotlight

Paramore – “Hard Times” on the Sunday Song Spotlight

Here’s a song that you wouldn’t expect to see here amongst our hard rock and heavy metal heroes! Paramore generally are not our kind of band. They started out as a young emo rock quintet but have evolved into something more clever, nuanced and pop-oriented. Through lineup changes, drama, and perhaps even one asshole ex-member, Paramore have thrived and grown with five hit albums under their belts.

“Hard Times” is an 80s pop ditty brought into the modern day by singer Hayley Williams, guitarist Taylor York, and drummer Zac Farro. It was the premier single from their fifth record After Laughter. Any fan of 80s hits will find it easy to like. The music video emphasizes Hayley’s keen sense of image with splashes of colour. With all that neon, it sure does look like 1988 (The year of Hayley’s birth). It’s a far cry from the kind of emo rock they started out with in 2005. The best parts of the song are when Hayley forgoes the melody and gets all shouty (“And I gotta hit rock bottom!”).

Hitting #2 in Sweden and New Zealand, and #6 in the US, “Hard Times” was a bit of a hit. And you can easily hear why. Regardless of the dreary lyrics, the music is totally upbeat.  I love the dancey beat, and the way that Taylor York just rakes that one chord.  “Hard Times” may not rock, but it surely is a good song.

Paramore are working on new music in 2022.

All that I want
Is to wake up fine
Tell me that I’m alright
That I ain’t gonna die

All that I want
Is a hole in the ground
You can tell me when it’s alright
For me to come out

(Hard times) gonna make you wonder why you even try
(Hard times) gonna take you down and laugh when you cry
(These lives) and I still don’t know how I even survive
(Hard times)
(Hard times)
And I gotta get to rock bottom

Walking around
With my little rain cloud
Hanging over my head
And it ain’t coming down
Where do I go?

Gimme some sort of sign
You hit me with lightning
Maybe I’ll come alive

(Hard times) gonna make you wonder why you even try
(Hard times) gonna take you down and laugh when you cry
(These lives) and I still don’t know how I even survive
(Hard times)
(Hard times)
And I gotta hit rock bottom

Tell my friends I’m coming down
We’ll kick it when I hit the ground
Tell my friends I’m coming down
We’ll kick it when I hit the ground
When I hit the ground
When I hit the ground
When I hit the ground
When I hit the ground

(Hard times) gonna make you wonder why you even try
(Hard times) gonna take you down and laugh when you cry
(These lives) and I still don’t know how I even survive
(Hard times) (hard times)
(Hard times) (hard times)
And I gotta get to rock bottom

Sunday Song Spotlight: REZ – “Shadows”

To go along with the occasional Sunday Screenings and Sunday Chuckles, it’s the Sunday Song Spotlight!  With all due respect to John at 2Loud2OldMusic, who has been doing a feature called My Sunday Song for years now.  I’m going to try and spotlight songs that I have loved for a long time, but have not written about in recent years.  Hoping to shine a light on some great music that you missed.

For the debut Sunday Song Spotlight, I want to talk about a tune that I first heard in 1986.  All I had was a taped copy of a taped copy of an original cassette, but the power of the song remained among the hiss:  “Shadows” by Rez.

Rez were a Christian rock band (Resurrection Band) and that was all I knew.  I had no other information.  I’d never seen a picture of them.  But I loved “Shadows”!  And you don’t have to be Christian to love it.  There’s only a hint of religion in the words.  A warning tale of drugs and suicide, “Shadows” is a power ballad with emphasis on power.  It resonated with us as kids.  Singer Glenn Kaiser has the rasp of Rod with lungs to spare.  What a singer!  The way his voice powers through the song takes it to another level.  Add in a cool guitar solo and relentless rock beat.  “Shadows” kicks ass.  The most powerful power ballad you’ll hear today.  Truly an awesome song, and the words still give me chills.

 

In the words of his mama, “He was my only son.”
In the words of his sister, “He was on the run.”
In the words of his girl, “How could it end this way?”
In the words of his daddy, “Well he never had much to say.”

Goodbye Kathy and goodbye Mom, there’s voices in my head
Angel dust and tortured dreams say I’d be better dead

You, you chased the shadows because your hopes
And dreams have been lost to the night

Hey, Billy, did you hear the news?
Johnny’s gone for good
They say his mama’s all broke up
They found him in the woods
Kathy just couldn’t understand
Sheriff, he just looked tired
Some will play and some will pay
And Johnny played with fire

Goodbye Kathy and goodbye Mom, there’s voices in my head
Angel dust and tortured dreams say I’d be better dead

You, you chased the shadows because your hopes
And dreams have been lost to the night

You, you chased the shadows because your hopes
And dreams have been lost to the night

Johnny’s dead and buried now out on the edge of town
Drove by his grave the other day, that’s when the fear came down
I hate the night that took his life, but now it’s haunting me
I may be young, may be confused but I gotta be free

God, are You there, can You hear me now?
Show me how to hope
Lost in the dark on a dead end road, please save me from myself

Lord, You, You took the shadows
All my fears and doubt and brought me out of the night
Lord, You , You take the shadows
Give me hope and love and turn my darkness to light

Lord, You, You took the shadows
All my fears and doubt and brought me out of the night
Lord, You , You take the shadows
Give me hope and love and turn my darkness to light