Playing God

Album: Brand New Eyes (2009)
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Songfacts®:

  • Frontwoman Hayley Williams told Kerrang! May 9, 2009 that this song is "about self-righteous people and me feeling the blow of that." She added: "The man line in the chorus, 'If you point the finger, I might have to bend it back and break it off' is about people who place blame and how they should look at themselves first. It's something I've dealt with since I was young."
  • Hayley Williams told Alternative Press the story of this song: "All five of us met up at Zac [Farro, drums] and Josh's house and sat around their living room with two acoustic guitars and [bassist] Jeremy Davis' bass. Josh and Taylor [York, guitar] started playing these two picking guitar lines - it felt very Jimmy Eat World-ish. Naturally, we were all into it. I had all kinds of lyrics on my old Sidekick (R.I.P.) and the ones used in this song used to be a completely different song, in my head. I had it all fast and rude sounding. But for some reason, I really wanted to reuse them for the JEW sounding song. I changed the melody around and added more once Josh came up with music for the chorus. What I love about the song is the contrast between the subject matter and the melody. The song, at its core, is very angry. I'm ripping at self-righteous people, ripping at my own bandmates and anyone who ever made me feel not good enough. But the overall tone of the song is completely different. It's laid back and really fun. By the time we'd gotten to the studio, the song still needed a bridge. So I sat down at a piano and wrote the parts. It's one of my favorite bridges on the record - I love the call and response vocal that Josh and I did. I feel like this song is one of those that we've been waiting to write for a long time."
  • The music video was filmed on November 2, 2010 and directed by Brandon Chesbro, who helmed the band's previous clips for, "The Only Exception" and "Careful". It was shot entirely at Hayley Williams' house in Franklin, Tennessee, and opens with the singer sitting in her actual car. The video sees her poisoning, detaining and interrogating her male bandmates in a dark basement. She taunts them with the song's chorus: "Next time you point a finger/ I'll point you to the mirror." The clip represents the ill-feelings that the band once shared, from which Paramore have since recovered.

    Williams told MTV News: "We filmed it at my house, so it was really personal, and I think that's how we like to keep things. We had friends hanging out on set all day, and Brandon being one of our best friends, he directed it. It was just a fun, personal play on the lyrics of the song."

    Williams added that there are plenty of references to look out for, such as the swinging light bulb from Paramore's "Ignorance" video. "There's a lot of little things for our fans to figure out," said the singer. "Nods to Gaga, with the glasses and the poison, and Dexter, with the plastic on my wall in the basement. Making it was fun. I love it."
  • On December 18, 2010 it was announced that Josh and Zac Farro were leaving Paramore. The departure was bitter with Josh, whom Hayley dated for a time, claiming there was a lot more going on behind the scenes than most fans were aware of. Hayley responded to MTV with the revelation that the majority of the songs on Brand New Eyes were about him. Said Hayley: "I would say that a large majority of those songs, yes, have to do with the relationship we had and then that we had to mend. And it was really hard, because we were all friends, and then going through a break-up and going through any kind of tension as a band really affected all the lyrics. There are a lot of specifics that I pulled from my experience with just feeling like my face was underneath a boot all the time. I think the point of the album was never to point out those things, but hopefully to encourage people who feel that way," she continued. "Because I felt so alone in that fight, that I would never want, especially another young woman, to feel that way, because I know there are a lot of girls I've talked to, fans, go through the same thing in relationships and families, and it just sucks to feel kind of victimized."

    This presented a new light on such lyrics as this song's, "It has to be so lonely/ To be the only one who's only."

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