You probably best know Hayley Williams as the lead singer of Paramore, alternative rock group that achieved mainstream success and touched the emo hearts of teens across the country in the mid-2000's. Now, she's striking out on her own: Williams just released her debut single "Simmer" and simultaneously announced her upcoming debut solo album, Petals For Armor.
The brooding instrumental of "Simmer" is held steady by a hypnotic pattern of snare drums and a constant stream of high hats, Williams sings of rage and the effort to repress it. "Eyes closed/ Another way to make it to ten," she murmurs. "Oh, how to draw the line between wrath and mercy?/ Gotta simmer down."
Fitting with the ominous mood of the song, Williams wanders through the woods in the music video, only to stumble upon an isolated house, lit by red light. In the end, Williams, covered in red mud, bashes an object into a hooded figure, and finds out she just attacked herself. Whatever it all means, it's clear that the old Hayley Williams can't come to the phone right now.
Williams opened up in a press statement about her debut album's creative process, one that left her freer to experiment than ever before. Paramore fans needn't fret about a breakup, though: Williams is just trying new things. "Please support our bad ass singer as she takes on the world on her own for a little bit!" the band wrote on Twitter, posting a link to the "Simmer" video.
"I'm in a band with my favorite musicians so I never really feel the need to step into a role as a player when it comes to Paramore records," Williams said. "This project, however, benefited from a little bit of musical naïveté and rawness and so I experimented quite a bit more." Mark your calendars: we'll soon be hearing the final results of Williams' solo debut, Petals For Armor, when it drops Friday, May 8.
Photography: Lindsey Byrnes