In, perhaps, their best televised performance ever, Nashville based alt rockers and site faves Paramore stopped by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert last week to deliver a quirky, retro, and inventive rendition of “Rose-Colored Boy,” the latest single from last year’s stellar fifth album After Laughter.
Fresh off the third voyage of their curated rock cruise Parahoy, the band took inspiration from their newscaster-inspired video for the track, transforming the studio into an ’80s-esque wash of color, retro televisions, and oversized attire (which gives a nod to Talking Heads, among other influences), with camerawork and choreographed performance much more intricate and deep than your run of the mill late night stop.
In an accompanying statement on Twitter, the band further elaborated on the theme of the track, which, like much of the record, juxtaposes sadness and emotional nuance with an upbeat, poppy, “fake happy” sheen, illustrating the pressures of the world to feel or present a certain way that might not be sincere, stating:
“Rose-Colored Boy is a song about feeling pressured to look at the world with blind optimism when you actually feel very hopeless about the world & your part in it. there is so much social pressure to be (or appear to be) ‘happy’ that we can actually feel shame when we aren’t. Adding shame to sadness is a pretty toxic cocktail. It’s hard enough to deal with sadness, depression, or any type of anxiety without the added societal expectations. It’s important & more healing to meet ppl where they’re at – EMPATHY – than to try & paint everything rosy.”
With that theme and context in mind, watching the band’s performance and especially singer Hayley Williams’ expressiveness highlights even more specific intent, eschewing the standard “show up and promote a single” motions in favor of using the opportunity to not only showcase what makes Paramore so unique and special, but also to speak to their audience and those who get what they do with a profound and emphatic message.
Long a group rooted in sincerity and transparency, everything about Paramore’s latest musical chapter has felt like the most true to themselves and their roots in years, and with a stop on Colbert, they managed to bring that resonance and intimate feeling to a national platform. Watch below, revisit our reviews of their 2017 Ryman and Exit/In outings, and catch the group’s inaugural appearance at Bonnaroo next month. You can also see drummer Zac Farro (and most of Paramore’s live band) as HalfNoise this Sunday, May 13 at Exit/In.