Skip to main content

One Video: Rose-Colored Boy by Paramore

One Video: Rose-Colored Boy by Paramore


Listen to Hayley

Share this story

If you buy something from a Verge link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Every week, a slew of new music videos hits the web. Watching them at your desk is not time theft because you deserve it; think of it as a nice reward for surviving another work week. But what if you don’t have time to watch every video — maybe you have a deadline, a hungry pet, or other grown-up concerns. In consideration of your schedule, Lizzie and Kaitlyn bring you a series called One Video. Each week we’ll tell you “one video” you need to watch, why, and for how long.

This week’s video: “Rose-Colored Boy” by Paramore

As you know, you only get to watch one music video this week and you need to choose carefully. Let’s see. MGMT “pretending” to “steal” a song by Filipino band Truefaith? Very confusing. A second, non-Snapchat video for “Wait” by Maroon 5, and in this one Adam Levine reportedly gets “punched into a coffin?” Uh, okay whatever. Kendrick Lamar and SZA promoting Black Panther in a series of progressively more otherworldly and astounding outfits and backdrops? Yes, but who has the time to sit around for three hours to recover from its splendor. Sting and Shaggy doing something together for no reason at all? Come on!

There’s no need to pretend to be happy with choices like these, and there’s no need to pretend to be happy in general, which is what brings us to this week’s One Video pick: a Paramore video about how women are expected to pretend to be happy.

Who is Paramore?

Paramore is a once-pop-punk, now mostly-just-pop band from Tennessee. Originally a Christian band, they were ousted by their Christian fanbase in 2009 when lead singer Hayley Williams wrote the lyric “The truth never set me free / so I did it myself.” This was perceived as a slight against Jesus, who is often referred to in the Bible as “the truth.” Hmm.

I’m hesitant to call her a hero because she has specifically asked me not to

Their most recent album, After Laughter, came out in May 2017 and featured a number of ‘80s-pop-inspired songs about the challenges of being famous from a young age, dealing with everyone else’s over-the-top obsessions with your physical appearance, and being forced to act happy when you’re struggling with depression. At the time, Williams gave a remarkably candid interview to The Fader’s Alex Frank, in which she told him, “For the first time in my life, there wasn’t a pinhole of light at the end of the tunnel... I don’t think I understood how dangerous hopelessness is.”

She is so gifted and generous, but I’m hesitant to call her a hero because she has specifically asked me not to. On the After Laughter song “Idle Worship,” she instructs her fans: “Don’t hold your breath, I never said I’d save you, honey.” Which is fair! She didn’t. I love and respect her, but will try not to project my desires onto her career or person.

What’s special about “Rose-Colored Boy” by Paramore:

“Rose-Colored Boy” is set at a fake morning show from the ‘80s, which is special because it calls to mind the all-time classic journalism movie Broadcast News — a 1987 masterpiece starring Holly Hunter as a woman who is brilliant, ambitious, honorable, and constantly sabotaged by men who are mediocre either in their brains or in their spirits.

It also features “Bogie the Dog,” whose occupation is “Weather Predictor.”

It also features Hayley Williams, performing as a woman who is expected to wear a restrictive red lace turtleneck and produce TV segments about domesticity, when she would much rather shout and rip one arm off of her blazer. The boys in her band are in the video, too, but I already forgot what they were doing.

How long everyone should watch “Rose-Colored Boy” by Paramore:

Watch the whole thing and don’t read the YouTube comments. No offense, but if you’re going to look at Hayley Williams at all, you better look at her the entire time she is talking to you.

Also, listen to what she’s saying! Here, I’ll print some of it verbatim to make it easier:

You say “We gotta look on the bright side”

I say “Well maybe if you wanna go blind”

You say my eyes are getting too dark now

But boy, you ain’t ever seen my mind