So I’ve been listening to Paramore’s new song “Fake Happy” and although as touching as it may be, it really got me thinking about my own life. What do people mean when they fake smile? Do they do it with intention or are they just afraid? Anyway, I thought I’d transcribe the lyrics and dissect them for my pleasure (and yours). Enjoy!
I been doing a good job of makin’ ’em think
I’m quite alright
But I hope I don’t blink
You see its easy when I’m stomping on a beat
But no one sees me when I crawl back underneath
See what I love about this first paragraph (or verse) is that you get the feeling Hayley has been in many situations where she just doesn’t fucking care, but she has to pretend to be happy. Correlate this with another song on the album “Rose-Colored Boy” in which she says:
“Just let me cry a little bit longer,
Hey man, we can’t all be like you”
And you get the sense that Hayley has had to put up with some real bullshit. Heavens knows I’d slap a bitch if they didn’t let me cry. You gotta let it out man, holding it in hurts. People tell me to “be happy” (or well they used to), all the time, but those people have no idea what the pain feels like. When you don’t want to do something or you feel violated by someone elses stupidity and aroggance. I can imagine Hayley being in the car, not wanting to go into this party where she has to be “fake happy”, telling her boyfriend to just let her cry. Funny.
If I smile with my teeth
I find this interesting because I used to never smile with my teeth. I must have always looked Glum, haha.
Bet you believe me
And the funniest thing is that I think people do actually believe you. Or at least they don’t care because they feel pain too, and your pain makes them uncomfortable and frustrated. So just smile, and it’ll be alright.
If I smile with my teeth
I think I believe me
This is pretty fucking creepy if you think about it. Because we do believe ourselves when we smile, “oh this is me being happy”. Actually I’ve seen that given as advice on tumblr and shit, “smiling makes you feel better”. Well if I’m being abused every day, smiling isn’t going to make me happy, haha.
Oh please don’t ask me how I’ve been
I feel you Hayley. I’m so over being asked “how I am”, it’s a very invalidating thing that the English language expects us to answer with “Good”. Sometimes it’s just a greeting, other times I feel like I’m actually being questioned about my wellbeing and health, and yet I’m expected to answer “GOOD!” when I’m feeling bad. Otherwise I’ll pity and stupidity. “Oh what’s up schnookums”… Fuck Off.
Don’t make me play pretend
Oh no, oh what’s the use
Oh please, I bet everybody here is fake happy too
This is the funny thing, we often do feel that others are making us play pretend and yet we don’t recognise our own involvement in the situation. The double entendre in this line is quite fascinating. “Playing pretend” is something children do, but in this instance it’s something trifle and horrible, to be avoided. The meaning of “pretending” has flipped in adulthood. We pretend to keep other people happy and into “it”, whatever “it” may be. But usually I would feel exhausted and never feel “into it”…
And if I go out tonight, dress up my fears
You think I’ll look
alright with these mascara tears?
The idea of dressing up one’s own fears is very unusual. But if you look at it closely that’s what we do. We wear designer clothes and fancy jewellery in order to not b judged by those around us. We want to impress in order to be accepted. Our fear of innacceptance is more potent than our desire to be free. So Hayley says, “how about I draw my face on how I want”, with her “Mascara tears?”, and in this way people will be able to see “the truth”. That she’s been crying and is vulnerable. There’s nothing more vulnerable than showing people that you’ve cried. If you let them, people will really ridicule you for it.
See I’m gonna draw my lipstick wider than my mouth
And if the lights are low they’ll never see me frown
This part of the song is definitely about performing. To be a good act for the audience. I feel like an audience would respond to you if you were being “real” but how can you be real when you don’t want to be there. Maybe it is time for Hayley to give up paramore? It seems like it’s at the end of it’s rope. It was a creative journey but it’s time for something new. I think she’s gone out with a good bang.
Thanks for listening!
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