In many cases, the performance and delivery of music crafts rhetoric in ways that lyrics can not exclusively accomplish. This can be seen with Paramore’s “Fake Happy”, in both the official music video and lead singer Hayley Williams’ performance of the song at a concert in June of 2018. 

About a year after “Fake Happy” was released, Paramore performed a show in Syracuse, NY. Before getting into the song, Williams interacts with the crowd to gauge how they are feeling. At one point, you can hear a man in the crowd ask her how she was feeling, to which she replied “I feel real happy”, with a smile. Some may view this as an extension of the song, faking happiness for the sake of others. Even though her smile looks genuine, the fact that she is about to perform “Fake Happy” changes the audience’s perspective about what is real and what is fake. Williams goes on to deliver an energetic performance of the song, dancing around stage and interacting with the audience. Again, if she were delivering different lyrics, this performance could be seen as lively and upbeat. There is a part of “Fake Happy” that explicitly says, “You see it’s easy when I’m stomping on a beat”, referring to Williams’ fraudulent happiness. In the case of the Syracuse concert, she is literally stomping on a beat. Because the song is about being really good at masking true emotions, skepticism is created. 

In the “Fake Happy” official music video, Williams starts off by looking very confused and out of touch with reality. She rubs her face, blinks slowly, and then turns to the camera to make eye contact with the audience members. The camera blurs and zooms in and out while Williams surveys her surroundings. Next, the video transitions to Williams featured in a digitalized world where everyone, except her, has a yellow upside-down smiley face covering their true identity. These people are going about their daily activities; some exercising, some walking home from work, some admiring the sights of Times Square. Williams dances around people, twirling, cheering others on, and skipping. While these seem like very happy activities, her face is not revealed until the very end when she turns to the camera, smile fading, with tear stains on her cheeks. The final scene of the video is Williams holding up a holographic upside-down smiley face that all of the other people had to herself, to prove that she is no better than the rest of them. 

This video uses visuals described in the lyrics to emphasize the point that so many people are putting on a fake face to the world in order to appear happy. The fact that the smiley faces are upside down is themselves a comment on being “anti-happy”. Also, seeing Williams crying at the end of the music video and succumbing to the “peer pressure” of wearing a fake smile further demonstrates how difficult it is to break free from these outside influences.