For this assignment, I will be focusing on the song “The News” by Paramore. The song was released in December of 2022. During this time, there were many political and environmental-related events occurring at both the national and global scale. The United States experienced growing tensions with the China, while also dealing with national politics when Roe v. Wade was overturned for the first time in 50 years in June. Additionally, gun violence and mass shootings persisted as an immediate growing issue, as the country faced its deadliest shooting of the year in May during the Robb Elementary School Shooting.

In terms of global conflict, climate change heightened around the world, as many countries reached peak temperatures and experienced severe heat waves as a result of the rising atmospheric temperatures. One of the most notable international crises that occurred was the war between Russia and Ukraine. The conflict elevated to a full-blown invasion of Ukraine, which began with an assembly of Russian troops at the Ukrainian border in earlier months. It was in February of 2022 when the troops crossed borders and began bombing cities and harming Ukrainian civilians. The song even makes reference to the war in its opening verses, which are as follows:

“War / A war / A war / On the far side / On the other side of the planet”

Additionally, the lyrics touch on its effects on consumers of news and media, who only view the war through screens and on television:

“Far / I’m far / So far / From a front line / Quite the opposite, I’m safe inside” 

“But I worry and I give money / And I feel useless behind this computer / And that’s just barely scratched the surface of my mind” 

All of these and many of the other major events that occurred during the 2022 calendar year received a great amount of news coverage, which is what the song is actively protesting. The song was composed by the band members themselves, which consists of lead vocalist Haley Williams, guitarist Taylor York, and drummer Zac Farro. Paramore is considered to be a rock band, which I feel is a very fitting genre for this song given the feelings of angst and anger it conveys. The lyrics express great disdain and are very critical of the news, especially in regards to pop culture, consumerism, and the nature in which different news outlets will distribute their information. This is shown through several verses in the song that describe the news as seemingly fraudulent and deceptive to consumers:

“Exploitative / Performative / Informative / And we don’t know the half of it / Rhetorical / Deplorable / Historical / And all along we call it normal” (x2)

Overall, it is evident that “The News” by Paramore is an incredibly powerful song that contains layers upon layers of critique and protest against the news and other media sources used by consumers to gain information about current national and global events.