It was only a few weeks ago, at the end of December, when Paramore’s Hayley Williams revealed that she’d release new solo music in January 2020. Now, after weeks of growing anticipation, we can finally hear her first solo single, “Simmer,” from her upcoming debut album, Petals For Armor, out May 8th. Hayley wrote “Simmer” with Taylor York (Paramore’s guitarist) and Joey Howard (the band’s touring bassist); Taylor also produced the track.
“Simmer” is a dark and shocking song. It opens with heavy breathing, humming percussion, and keyboard synths, not unlike Billie Eillish’s popularized style of music. But Hayley’s song goes into unique territory, filled with barely-contained rage and sorrow. Indeed, the first verse tackles the feeling and how uncontainable anger is. After the low, whispering verse, the chorus comes in with higher, chanting vocals. It ends with the refrain to “simmer simmer simmer simmer down.” On the second verse, the heavy song grows even heavier, Hayley confronting a bad man head-on and describing a child she’d protect. “Simmer” is an intense and direct song, and unlike anything we’ve heard from Paramore. It’s at once more vulnerable, raw, harrowing, and unabashed about the anger running through it.
If the song wasn’t enough, the new music video for “Simmer,” directed by Warren Fu, drives home these themes. It plays like a horror movie, focusing on a naked Hayley as she runs through a dark forest. She encounters animal skeletons, but we also see a light glowing within her. We see fear in Hayley’s eyes, but we also get glimpses of what led up to this nighttime escape. She runs to an isolated house, and the video turns ritualistic before its climatic end. Hayley brings the lyrics to life in a way that is impossible to look away from.
Watch the horror-like music video for “Simmer” below:
You can stream or download “Simmer” from all the major music providers here. The song will appear on Hayley’s upcoming debut solo album, Petals For Armor, out May 8th.
Coinciding with the release of “Simmer,” Hayley also appeared on Radio 1’s Future Sound with Annie Mac. They discussed her decision to go solo, what inspired “Simmer,” what to expect in 2020, and the future of Paramore.
It’s no secret that After Laughter was borne out of a difficult time in Hayley’s life. But, following that album cycle, Hayley experienced a sort of “emotional whiplash” as things quieted down. Her turmoil began creeping up, leading her to do a lot of intensive therapy. It was suggested she get back to writing to get those feelings out.
Although it wasn’t meant to be anything specific, after writing around 4-5 songs, Hayley realized it might be developing into a body of work. Taylor York suggested Hayley talk to their manager about perhaps doing a solo album.
Hayley explained in the interview that she felt a lot of anger. As she points out, everything on the planet should be making us angry right now. Amen to that. When she started writing the song, she thought it would be a straightforward angry song, but it ended up leading to trigger points in her life. Hayley admitted that the second verse of “Simmer” was really hard for her to write and record.
In developing the new music, Hayley had creepy visions of flowers growing out of her. She eventually realized that there was a lot trying to grow out of her, but it would hurt at times. “Petals For Armor” is Hayley’s mantra to stay soft in a hard world. For Hayley, the way to protect herself is to allow herself to be vulnerable and feel the whole spectrum of feelings; she can’t have her firsts up all the time. The album’s title, Petals For Armor, appears in the bridge for “Simmer.”
Touring & Paramore’s Future
Hayley confirmed that she will tour for her solo album. She didn’t give details on where or when, but she did say that, although it won’t be a Paramore concert, she will have many of her same crew members with her. She admitted she’s afraid to tour without Paramore, but also excited.
Hayley also confirmed that Paramore is not over. They will make music together again, though it probably won’t sound like her forthcoming solo material. In any case, Hayley indicated that this solo album is an important step that will only help the band grow.
Petals For Armor
“Simmer” is just our first taste of Hayley’s upcoming debut solo album. She’s still in the studio working on music, but Petals For Armor will be available on May 8th! After that, fans can see her on tour.
What do you think of the new song and music video? Let us know!
Enjoy “Simmer” and its music video, and stay tuned for more news on Petals For Armor – including tracklisting and cover art. Keep checking back here for all the latest Hayley Williams music news.