Paramore – The News (Official Video)

The first piece of media I will be discussing related to Paramore’s “The News” is the official music video. The music video was released on December 8th, 2022, along with the song itself, which was originally released as a single to promote their newest album This is Why. 

The music video provides an even greater, more in-depth understanding of the meaning behind the lyrics. The video begins with Haley Williams, the band’s lead vocalist, laying unconscious in front of an open computer screen. Only the whites of her eyes are visible, and the screen lighting is reflected on her face. She is the main character in this video.

Throughout the music video, Williams is in a dark room with only a camera, a TV, a couch, a computer, and a white door. She is seen walking around the room or staring at the screens like a mindless zombie. There are also multiple clips of her sitting on the couch with a blank stare, facing the TV, and her face is being sucked into the screen. I believe the entire purpose the music video is to show she, as a consumer of mass media, has become a victim to it and it is totally consuming her.

The music video for “The News” functions as a piece of civic media in society. It highlights a very grave issue about media consumption and manipulation on platforms such as television and the news. Additionally, it allows for the engagement of its audience through its lyrics that discuss other modern day issues surrounding politics and war.

Paramore – The News (Live at the Grand Ole Opry)

A secondary version of the song I will be discussing one of the band’s live performances of “The News” from earlier this year. Paramore performed the song back in March of 2023 at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee.

This was a very passionate life performance. It felt almost as if rather than just singing the lyrics to the song, she was trying to communicate the message conversationally. Additionally, I feel that the background visuals gave greater meaning to the performance. The spiraling black and white screen created a hypnotic effect similar to what the character in the music video experiences when staring at the computer and TV screens.

It is important to acknowledge the gravity of performing a protest song like this at a social concert event. I feel like when artists or bands release protest songs, they are not normally included in their concert sets. Not to say that could be considered performative activism, but I feel that artists may not like to perform these types of songs because it could take away from the nature of the concerts. However, by performing this song during a concert, it allows the audience to be more receptive to it because they are experiencing the live performance and lyrics in real time.