Paramore released their second music video from of their new album, After Laughter, for the song “Fake Happy” on November 17th.
The music video opens up on lead singer Hayley Williams’ face as a lone guitar strums and her voiceover sings the lines, “I love making you believe// What you get is what you see// But I’m so fake happy// And I bet everybody here// Is just as insincere// We’re all so fake happy// And I know fake happy.” The opening lines to this song are very telling for what’s in store for the audience. Her voice is vulnerable and honest, but when the beat drops the audience is met by a burst of happy, upbeat ’80s synth music. Then, Hayley gets up and leads the camera through the busy streets of New York City. As she passes people on the street, their faces have been strategically replaced with an upside down happy face.
Hayley leads us through a number of different locations as she struts along in a green and silver sequined bodysuit and yellow high-top converse. Much like her outward appearance, she seems to be happy, dancing along in the streets and interacting with strangers. She’s even seen hugging a man in the park, listening to live music, and caressing the Hulk’s face in Times Square. All those things would lead one to believe that on the outside she’s having a blast, but if you watch closely, there are times when she stops dancing and playing, and you can almost see her anxiety seeping through.
I first made this particular observation when she was dancing in the alley alone [1:18], because she’s completely by herself and free from judgement. You can even see the freedom in her movements! She’s performing for herself and the camera until someone cuts in the alley. At first, she doesn’t notice the man right away because she’s dancing with her back to him, but when she turns around, she stops and becomes more reserved and begins to walk normally. It’s just a brief moment, but it speaks volumes to the theme of this song that as humans, our outward appearances are not our true forms. It’s merely a “Fake Happy” that we put on as a way of protecting ourselves or as even just a way of hiding our true emotions.
In the final moments of the song, Hayley is in Times Square with the most concentrated amount people and she takes a look around as she’s seen smiling. Then, her eyes meet the camera and we see she has metallic tears streaming down her face. The smile on her face drops, as do her eyes from the camera, and she lifts up an upside down happy face, which covers her face as she joins the strangers she’s been parading around with for the entire video. This final moment carries the weight and meaning of the song and video beautifully.
The music video does a great job of capturing the vulnerability and reality of what it’s like to walk around with a painted on smile. The song also does a great job of contrasting the lyrics with the upbeat music, further driving the idea of being “Fake Happy.” The music video is a perfect pairing to the song and definitely worth the watch.
What are your thoughts on the video? Tweet us @soundigest and let us know what you think!