Misery Business

Album: Riot! (2007)
Charted: 17 26

Songfacts®:

  • This song is about a mean girl who rules her school and terrorizes her classmates. This girl fits the description of a "Prep," who is skinny ("A body like an hourglass"), and is very popular. Lead singer Hayley Williams sings about how being popular doesn't make you great, and how it isn't new ("There are a million other girls who do it just like you"). >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alex - Lincoln, England
  • According to Hayley Williams, the lyrics are based on real events. The song was written to get her high school experience off her chest.

    In an interview with the Manchester Evening News August 9, 2007, guitarist Josh Farro described how the background to this song concerned vocalist Hayley Williams enough to post a message on the band's Live Journal page, asking her fans to post what they were ashamed of: "The song is about a girl who ruined one of our friend's lives with sex, using her sexuality to get what she wanted. And it really affected us, watching him crumble. So, when Hayley wrote 'Misery Business,' she posted online how she wanted to encourage our fans not to be scared to say what you feel or what you're ashamed of, because once you do, you're setting yourself free. We had a huge response. There were some people that were embarrassed of using drugs, drinking, or sleeping around or having gay sex. Everything, really. There were a few parents who replied, ashamed of how they raised their kids." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Natalie - Chicago, IL
  • Of the music video's concept, Hayley Williams said she wanted to mutilate every part of her rival's existence. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Keah - Columbus, OH
  • Hayley Williams sings here about taking a man from another woman:

    Whoa, it was never my intention to brag
    To steal it all away from you now
    But God does it feel so good
    'Cause I got him where I want him now
    And if you could then you know you would
    'Cause God it just feels so
    It just feels so good


    Williams published a blog on Tumblr in 2015 in response to unspecified criticism of the song, in which she said no longer relates to its words as a result of her feminist beliefs. She wrote:

    "I read a couple comments today about how I can't be feminist or whether or not I'm a 'good' feminist. To speak specifically to one of those comments, I'll say this: 'Misery Business' is not a set of lyrics that I relate to as a 26 year old woman. I haven't related to it in a very long time. Those words were written when i was 17… admittedly, from a very narrow-minded perspective. It wasn't really meant to be this big philosophical statement about anything. It was quite literally a page in my diary about a singular moment i experienced as a high schooler."
  • Shane Drake (Paramore's "Pressure," "Emergency") directed the music video at Reseda High School near Los Angeles, which has also been used for films like Encino Man (1992) and Grosse Pointe Blank (1997), and TV shows like The Hard Times of RJ Berger and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. At one point, the Queen Bee snatches a guy away from his girlfriend and starts making out with him. According to VH1's Pop-Up Video the actress wanted him to grab her like he was into it, but he was allegedly terrified by the rough kiss and wouldn't do it.
  • Paramore announced they will no longer perform "Misery Business" at live shows at a special one-off concert event in their hometown of Nashville on September 7, 2018. Before playing the song for the last time, Hayley Williams said:

    "This is a choice that we've made because we feel that we should, we feel like it's time to move away from it for a little while. This is to every bad decision that led us here, this is to all the embarrassing things we might have said, but we owned up to it and we grew."

Comments: 29

  • Roger Bennett from Newington Ctan hour glass figure is the opposite of skinny - it's big boobs, big hips and a small waist
  • Lia from WashingtonTo me, this song sounds like it's about a physically attractive girl stealing someone Hayley has feelings for. ("He was the only one for me") The girl is manipulative, and ends up throwing him away when she's done with him. ("I waited eight long months, she finally set him free") Then, Hayley picks him back up, taking away the girl's power over his feelings. ("Two weeks and we caught on fire. She's got it out for me, but I wear the biggest smile") That pisses her off, but she can't get him back because he's with someone better now. ("I watched his wildest dreams come true, not one of them involving you") To me, it feels like Hayley is feeling triumphant because she "stole" her power through authenticity rather than using her body. ("Once a whore, you're nothing more, I'm sorry that'll never change") ("Well there's a million other girls who do it just like you, looking as innocent as possible...Well I refuse, I refuse, I refuse") ("God, it just feels so good") That's my interpretation. :)
  • Leonardo from Connecticut Since when does "body like an hour glass" mean skinny? It means vuloptuous.
  • Megan from Stevenson, AlThis is great! Love this song and video!
  • Lydia from Cleveland, OhI usually love Paramore - but this song stings to my core. I just heard this song and I had to google the lyrics to make sure I was understanding what I thought I heard. I'm not sure why girls have the need to "win" guys from other girls. What have you won, really? "Ding, ding, ding.....let's look at the lovely gift this young lady just won....oh look, it's a cute guy! CONGRATULATIONS! You must be so much better than that OTHER girl he was with! But wait, there's more! As a lovely parting gift, he'll cheat on you, too. Because, we all know if he cheats WITH you, he'll cheat ON you!" Bitter? Maybe....I just don't like this message. These are all innocent lyrics when they are high school games, but in my world....it was my husband. I fought for my marriage and asked this girl to let my husband and I try to work things out....I even told her if it didn't work that I would gladly bow out and she could have him. She pretty much laughed in my face. I'm actually doing really well on my own and really happy with my life (without him) but my little boy is confused and scared by the changes in his world. I'm able to rationalize and adjust, my son doesn't have that ability at his age. I just believe there are healthier ways to prove your worth. Live your life for you and prove you are a better person by being a good person. I don't wish bad things upon them, but unfortunately, my trusty ol' friend Karma has paid both of them many visits this past year.
  • Charlie from Las Vegas, Nvoh i remember the first time i watched the music video for this song. it was the summer before i started middle school. but enough about that.

    i can relate to the song in a really twisted way. back last october i was in a relationship with this one girl, whom i guess you could consider a prep just like the girl in the song. anyway whenever i mentioned other girls i'd always have to tell her "don't worry, she and i are just friends. geez." and she'd be like "oh okay" but i could tell she was thinking "oh if i ever catch you making out with her i will f--king kill you both" or some s--t like that. which is kind of weird, because about a week or so before i broke up with her, i dreamt that my ex-girlfriend and i just randomly started making out inside one of the hallways at my school during Homecoming, and that SHE walked in on us (i shouldn't have to tell you people whom i meant by "SHE."). so i took the dream as a sign from the Man Upstairs telling me to break up with her. now i just have yet to get my FIRST ex back. then i'd have it made.

    feel free to email me- wolfbiker2009@hotmail.com
  • Theresa from Murfreesboro, TnHayley has an exceptional voice. Love that red hair!
  • Hope from Naperville, Ili say this is about a guy hayley thought she had...then another girl got him, let him go, and haley took him back...now the girl hates hayley...
    avril and hayley are different. i like them both a lot--- so lets not judge. The farros, taylor, and jeremy are extremely talented, more than avrils band...which might effect their sounds
  • Jack from Denver, CoOn what Chris said, this is what Avril Lavigne wishes to be. This is what she will never be. This is something to fantastic for that decently talented girl to comprehend.
  • Megan from Acton, Onwow. there are many comments on this song.
    I love this song so much! and yeah, like some people said...it's like my school too.
  • Liz from Tunkhannock, PaThis song so true in my school.

    But i absoultey love this song!<3
  • Cristal from New York, NyWell, for those who may think its just a song and the video more or less tells you what it means. It don't! It's about the band and especially about Hayley.(Come on,She did write it!)I believe it's about how Hayley had a crush on one of her band mates. And he met this girl and she was hot, smart and she knew the Hayley liked him. So, she messed around with his feelings cause all she wanted was the fame and glory and to be known.(anyway possible)So then Hayley got back at her by setting her up and breaking them up. Now she had him and was not letting go and the "other girl" wanted him back and was heated at the fact that she mess it up for her. And Hayley got the better of her.But now Hayley got her man. and she bragging 'cause she got it like that....i ain't mad at her!!!! Well this is what i got out of it. My story, though i am riding between the lines.So you decide!!! Just a fan and she does Rock...So whatever it is...it is!
  • Cristal from New York, NyWell, for those who may think its just a song and the video more or less tells you what it means. It don't! It's about the band and especially about Hayley.(Come on,She did write it!)I believe it's about how Hayley had a crush on one of her band mates. And he met this girl and she was hot, smart and she knew the Hayley liked him. So, she messed around with his feelings cause all she wanted was the fame and glory and to be known.(anyway possible)So then Hayley got back at her by setting her up and breaking them up. Now she had him and was not letting go and the "other girl" wanted him back and was heated at the fact that she mess it up for her. And Hayley got the better of her.But now Hayley got her man. and she bragging 'cause she got it like that....i ain't mad at her!!!! Well this is what i got out of it. My story, though i am riding between the lines.So you decide!!! Just a fan and she does Rock...So whatever it is...it is!
  • Joy from Dallas, TxThis song has a poswerful message I think. I love how she refuses to change for a guy.
  • Rebekah from Davis, CaSince "the girl" in the video shoved a group of cheereleaders, I'd hazard that she's NOT a prep... even more so because she brazenly makes out with some poor guy in front of his girlfriend. Preps are annoying, but not that bitchy.
    and I don't understand "mutilates every part of her existence".
  • Matthew from Sayre, PaThe video for this would be a lot better if it were not for the fact that Hayley herself was the other girl. Although no one wants to admit to it, Hayley personifies the culture she persecutes here, and that doesn't make her a suitable character to be the one to ruin that other girl's "parade".

    Just look at her closely. She is like a young Avril Lavigne, someone who also rebelled and later conformed. When will Paramore also make that turn? There is the chance it will not, but look at what star power does to people.

    Can you say Hayley is your typical girl? I doubt any of you would have the chance to be around her, unless you yourself are a star. She would be the nice celebrity and say hi to a fan, but she certainly would not do any more than that, unless it meant positive publicity.

    So in closing, this song makes me depressed.
  • Z from Somewhere Over The Rainbow, WaWhen I really listened to the lyrics I thought that it was about a sl*tty prep who knows that she is pretty enough and popular enough to get anyone she wants. She tries to prove it by stealing someone else's boyfriend and pretending that she's having his kid. It's not his child and she leaves him, she still likes him and wants him back, but she's ashamed of herself. The old girlfriend rubs it in her face that she needs to sink that low, and that she still won't keep any guy forever because 'Second chances they don't never matter, people never change
    Once a whore, you're nothing more, I'm sorry that'll never change.'
    sorry about how long that was... Anyway, Paramore is amazing; my friend wants hair like Hayley Williams.
    ~~Ta~~
  • Sarah from La, CaMisery Business and Crushcrushcrush is the best Paramore songs. This band is very good. I usually only listen to guy bands like: Breaking Benjamin, 3 Doors Down, Three Days Grace, Avenged Sevenfold, and ect. Paramore is the only band I listen to with a female singer. ( out of 450 songs on my MP3 Player Paramore is the only one with a female singer) Paramore is a great band.
  • Abby from Hmmm, Ilthis song is my favorite paramore song!
  • Tyler from Windsor, OnThis song is obviously about another girl trying to take Hayley's man and she's trying to prove that they wouldn't match up. "I watched his wildest dreams come true. Not one of them involving you."
  • Rebecca from Tampa, GaYou'd think that becasue Hayley's so pretty and all that she was SUPER
  • Danny from Canonsburg, PaI like paramore their a cool band and this song is ok but crushcrushcrush is way better
  • Olivia from Stanton, KyThis song really makes me feel like I am not the only one in ht eworld who feels the same way. It is about a domineering, preppy girl, who thinks that she rules the school. Popularity doesn't make you great, it makes you like everyone else.

    --Olivia---email me---cracker_nugget1760@yahoo.com
  • Chris from Charleston, ScThis is what Avril Lavigne wishes she could be
  • Michelle from Sydney, AustraliaThis band is awesome and the lead singer Hayley can sing awesomey!!!!!!!!!! I wouild of loved to see them live but it doesn't matter i will always love you Paramore
  • Shelby from Long Island, NyHayley is saying that even though this school sl*t is out to get her, she's fine and is just going to stand-up to it. "She's got it out for me, but I wear the biggest smile"
  • Becca from Camdenton, Mothis is the most amazing song i have ever had!!<3
  • Jeff from Kingston, WaThis song is about a girl that came into paramore's life, and used sex and her body to manipulate the guys in paramore's group of friends

    haley eventually called her on it, and wrote a song about it.
  • Emily from Frankiln, Tnit's about a expernice hayley had with a girl . she was a whore as she says in the 2nd verse she stole hayley's guy i guess i love the song to pieces i love paramore
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