Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Paramore's 'Monster' Video Premieres

Clip hints at past dramas and points to the long road ahead.
By James Montgomery

Paramore's Hayley Williams in their "Monster" video
Photo: Fueled By Ramen

Last month, Paramore roared back to life with "Monster," the first song they've released since the rather acrimonious departure of founding members Josh and Zac Farro in December.

In the track, Hayley Williams seemed to be singing about nothing but the Farros (Josh in particular) and how Paramore are pushing on without them. But if the song is about the interpersonal relationships that cause a band to fall apart (and subsequently come back together again), well, then the video — which just premiered on MTV.com — seems to be about the band itself. Or, more specifically, the band as a sort of machine, one that never stops running and seems designed to continually churn through members. In this case, it is the Monster. And it must be fed.

Or something like that. Because the "Monster" video is one gigantic Möbius strip, an unending loop that begins and ends in the exact same spot. We follow the band as they make their way through a damaged hospital (a setup that recalls the opening of "28 Days Later"), constantly tormented and threatened by the gnashing and wailing of another version of Paramore, this one trapped inside a room, trying desperately to escape. Their attempts — thrashing against walls, pounding on floorboards — cause the hospital to heave and sway and funnels Williams, guitarist Taylor York and bassist Jeremy Davis down a dark corridor, around a corner and, eventually, directly into the room where their former selves were trapped. Only now, the room is empty, except for a microphone and some instruments. As the video comes to a close, we are left to wonder if the whole scenario is about to play out once again.

It seems as if the video is hinting at the fact that bands are, by their very nature, set up to fail, that regardless of how closely knit its members are, eventually, due to distance and stress and all matters of maladies, things begin to break down and that the cycle will play itself out ad infinitum. It's not exactly the most uplifting plot, but it's certainly an honest portrayal of the inner-workings of the music machine.

Then again, perhaps I'm just reading too much into things. Maybe what we don't see is Paramore breaking the cycle, but I don't think so. After all, since the split with the Farros, Paramore have been nothing if not honest about their individual shortcomings and the pressures they faced. And, with "Monster," they seem to be taking that openness to new levels: They may have made it through one calamity, but surely, there will be another one lurking around the corner.

What did you think of Paramore's new video? Share your reviews in the comments!

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