This is the first single off Paramore's eponymous fourth album, their first as a trio following the departure of founding members Josh and Zac Farro. Regarding why they decided on a self-titled LP, the band explained in a blog: "The whole making of this album was a rediscovering of ourselves as a band and as friends. It was a process that allowed us the freedom to explore new territory artistically and to liberate ourselves as musicians, singers, as people! Sincerely, we feel that the best way to give it a name is just to call it what it is. This album is us."
The song reflects Paramore's fresh start as a trio after the departure of the Farro brothers. Said the band: "Not really sure what else to say except for we love this song. It just feels like the perfect way to start this new journey we are embarking on not only as a band but as a movement. To show people that you can lose battles but come back and win full on wars. You can rise from ashes. You can make something out of even less than nothing. The only thing you have to do is keep moving forward!"
This song, along with the rest of the album was produced by Justin Meldal-Johnson, who is known for his work with Beck, Nine Inch Nails, Tegan and Sara, and M83.
Regarding the song's meaning, Hayley Williams told CBS Local: "It's just about sort of reaching forward and claiming victory over whatever is to come. You know that something's out there waiting on you; when it's really good and you just claim it. You have to believe it before you see it sometimes and that's definitely what we did with this album."
The song's epic music video has a message of love conquering all as director Daniel Cloud Campos fills the clip with plenty of militaristic metaphors. We see the Paramore trio battle against heavily armored SWAT types whilst Hayley Williams performs the song among the chaos. "The idea of the song is reaching forward, moving forward towards something more positive, and I feel like we did come from a tumultuous time as a band, and we're really trying to move forward," Williams explained to MTV News. "And that's what the video is about: we were on this rebel team fighting for love, and there were these soldiers that don't know about it, they come from a world of darkness so it was all about spreading that message and fighting for that cause."
This was the song that helped the Paramore trio to heal and move onto the next chapter of their career after the traumatic exit of the Farro brothers. "The first half of this record, writing-wise, was all about getting to a new place, moving forward. And when we wrote 'Now,' by the end of the song I was like 'We're there. We got to that point and now we can really focus on what's next,'" Hayley Williams explained to MTV News. "It's about believing before seeing, reaching out and blindly knowing it's going to be alright. And that's a message that's been really important for us three, but also for our fans and for young people in general; it's a message we're cool to stand behind, and it feels good."
It was a member of Paramore's label that persuaded them to choose this track to lead their comeback. "This song happened, and I felt like, in the midst of all the other songs we were writing, it was very heavy and very much like a Paramore rock song, out of the ones that we had been coming up with," Williams told MTV News. "And our A&R guy, who we're really close with - he's A&R'ed every record of us, ever, and at this point he's just like a friend and a really close part of our team - he just flipped on the song since day one. And by the time we had it mixed and we were in the studio putting the finishing touches on it, he was like.... 'I can imagine this song taking over the world!' He was so excited about it, and we love every song on the record, but his enthusiasm was so contagious."
Williams told Billboard magazine that Daniel Cloud Campos pulled inspiration for the video from an artwork by the reclusive British street artist Banksy. "The song feels like it has a bit of violence to it, but its not about that at all. It's about embracing something more than that and looking forward to something you that maybe can't see yet, believing before you see," she explained. "When people watch the video, I think it comes across, hopefully, clearly that love always wins in the end. And it's better to stop the cycle of bitterness and anger and try something different."
Spin magazine asked Williams why she hugged the scary beret-wearing guy at the end of the clip. She replied: "Our band's been through a lot, we've been through ups and downs, and the video portrays those struggles that we've had. And the best way to battle it is not by repeating offenses. It's sort of like — did you see Looper? Looper was so brilliant, and it took me forever to finally see it, but the way that movie ends and the message behind that is so selfless. If anything, that's the message that we're trying to get across, is that you can't keep doing the same things if you want a different result. And I feel like at the end of the day love always wins."
Paramore earned their first ever #1 album on the Billboard 200 when their eponymous LP debuted at the top of the chart with sales of 106,000. The disc also reached the peak position in the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Brazil and Argentina.