I came out of hiding finally to discuss something important with you. There have been many things that I have wanted to write about throughout the year, but I just haven’t for many reasons. I wanted to talk about PVRIS’s new album that released in August, Paramore’s new album, the shows I’ve been to, so on and so on. However, I just felt I didn’t have anything important to say. And then, I watched the “Fake Happy” music video that released on Friday. We need to talk about it.
Side note: You may wanna watch that little video up there that I linked for you before you read my thoughts, just FYI.
Before I go all psycho analyzer Faren on you, I want to say that whenever I first listened to “Fake Happy” back in May, I fell in love. This song could very well be the theme song to my life:
“If I smile with my teeth /
bet you’d believe me /
If I smile with my teeth /
think I believe me.”
as well as:
“I’m gonna draw my lipstick wider than my mouth /
and if the lights are low, they’ll never see me frown.”
If you know me at all, you know that I have two extraordinarily different versions of myself: the “cool girl” persona I attempt to radiate to others to try to make them happy and the “anxious mess” one that I show to very few. This concept of being “fake happy” is something I openly identify with. It’s really the only life I know. My brain has been conditioned to respond to stress, unhappiness, anxiety by locking the thoughts away and ruminating on them for months and to instead, put all of my energy into helping others with their problems. You can imagine that this usually ends up resulting in some pretty fun downward spirals. Of course, what else is a writer to do but to create their own downward spirals when they have nothing to write about? #justwriterthings
Anyway, I saw Paramore had a new music video drop for this song on Friday and I was over the moon ecstatic. Yes! It’s my jam! This video is going to be so colorful and cool! Whenever I listen to the song, I get this retro dance club vibe and naturally, I thought of all of the color usage they’d insert. Of course, I wondered what color Hayley may be sporting and what crazy outfit she may wear.
This is not the video they created.
The video we get is very unlike any other Paramore video we’ve been graced with. If you check out videos like “Still Into You” or “Misery Business” or “Brick By Boring Brick”, you will notice they have a frequent pattern of heavy saturation as well as epic color usage in their videos. Most notably, their usage of bright orange (I’m not complaining. :D). They do have a snippet of bright orange, but if you blink, you’ll miss it (I see you, :38). This video was very toned down and extremely bare bones when you compare it to this current Paramore era of videos (Hard Times, Told You So). Upon first viewing the video, I was a little let down. I remember thinking, “Okay, so I watched a 3:55 music video that was 95% Hayley’s back? Cool.” I didn’t get it.
Then, I watched it a second time. I kept coming back to that final image of Hayley standing in the middle of the crowd of fake happy faces crying and I saw myself in that. I was instantly taken back to this wonderful interview that Hayley did for The Fader back in June. She dug into some pretty deep shit that she’s been dealing with that heavily accented the record, After Laughter:
“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. 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.”
I had lost sight of this, even as someone that struggles with anxiety and depression. I went into this video not looking for the deeper meaning to such a toned back video, I looked for fake happy. I suggest if you got the same reaction to this video upon your first viewing, watch it again. You may just learn something from it.
You may just see yourself.
While this isn’t my favorite Paramore video, this is definitely on my list of ones to send to people if they are struggling to show they aren’t alone. Just know you aren’t alone ever even if you’re the only one in your skin. It’s okay to not be okay, but don’t feel you have to be fake happy. Just be yourself. <3