A deep dive into Paramore’s record-breaking music video for Ain’t It Fun
Paramore were, despite some fallings-out and near-break-ups, doing fine before their self-titled album and Ain’t It Fun. They were doing totally okay, selling fine amounts of records and quietly amassing a not-unimpressive fanbase – a lot of it down to Hayley Williams’ immense charisma, excellent voice and ever-changing, ever-spectacular hair. Then this song came out and, whoa, suddenly they were in the big leagues. There’s quite a lot going on in this one, so let’s jump right in, shall we?
As stated in the caption, there are world records broken in this video. However, they aren’t Guinness World Records – the best known and most widely-acknowledged collection of records. They are in fact given “official world record” status by an organisation called RecordSetter. Director Sophia Peer said, “RecordSetter is much more inclusive than Guinness, therefore cooler. [CEO] Dan Rollman, is an inspired individual who has dedicated himself to helping people legitimise their talents and specialties. It is definitely the right place for Paramore fans to play along.”
December 2, 2013 was a Monday, and the day that the second Hobbit film, The Desolation Of Smaug, was released.
This keyboard loop was the genesis of the song. Taylor York came up with it in a hotel room in Los Angeles, and within a few hours he and Hayley had turned it into a demo complete with “yelling and screaming”.
Oh, yo, if by any chance you would really like a guitar but can’t afford one, don’t watch this bit. It’s weird how you can watch loads of stuff blow up in a movie and never think about the waste involved, but smashing the fuck out of three guitars and a bunch of clocks somehow feels like a shame.
Paramore all seem really nice, and nice people aren’t litterbugs, so it’s safe to assume they cleared all this up afterwards.
“Most feathers caught in 30 seconds” doesn’t really mean anything. Guinness wouldn’t run a record as vague as that. The Guinness version would be like, “Most goose feathers fired from a standard-sized trebuchet and caught in one 30-second period using the non-dominant hand clad in a velvet glove.”
She’s just having a dance here, and not competing.
Ain’t It Fun came from Taylor and Hayley’s experiences after moving to LA and having to fend for themselves in ways they hadn’t needed to before. The singer’s words are directed towards… Hayley. She told Entertainment Weekly: “That song is to myself, actually. It’s very sarcastic, if anything. I needed a kick in the butt a little bit. I thought I was being a whiny baby about being away from my family. I needed to hear those words. No-one else was saying that to me, so I had to say it to myself.” Elsewhere she described the song as “a letter to myself to just stop crying”.
This wasn’t the original concept for the Ain’t It Fun video. A shoot was planned with director Jonathan ‘Jodeb’ Desbiens, and it went as far as the band being on set, but creative differences led to it being cancelled. New director Sophia Peer came up with the record-breaking idea, and initially had a longlist of 30 records, which had to be scaled back for the one-day shoot. This record, of literally breaking records, which is of course A Sort Of Real World Pun, was the band’s idea.
58 records broken between three people in a minute means they each took about three seconds to break. These records are all explored in more detail on the RecordSetter site, and people who think they can beat Paramore are invited to do so and upload their attempts. They all seem pretty beatable, but maybe that’s the idea…
Hang on – there’s a singer, a bassist and a guitarist. What about a drummer? Zac Farro was the man behind the kit for Paramore from the band’s formation in 2004 to 2010, when he and his brother, guitarist Josh Farro, left under less-than-ideal circumstances. There was some bad blood, and some name-calling, and it was all a bit unpleasant and looked like the band might be over, but they carried on. Taylor can also play drums, various live drummers played on tour and Ilan Rubin, best known for his work with Nine Inch Nails and Angels & Airwaves, drummed on this album. In 2017, Zac rejoined Paramore.
Again, “Fastest time to run through 10 banners”? Surely to be a proper record, the material the banners are made from and the distance they are placed apart have to be specified…
Hayley, seen here cartwheeling in boots, has frequently been mistaken for actually being Paramore. Due to some line-up shifts behind her and sticking out visually, Paramore have frequently been placed in the odd position of having to insist that they are, in fact, a band.
Turns out Franklin, Tennessee is pretty nice in December. Cartwheeling in Britain at that time of year requires a lot more than a sports bra. You’d catch your fucking death.
A jacket makes a lot more sense. It is winter after all.
Extremely good blindfolds there, bringing a charming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles vibe to proceedings.
That’s an actual gospel choir you can hear there, not something that comes up a lot in these deep dives. However, as Hayley told Hello Giggles: “I love gospel music so much. I grew up in Mississippi and was in and out of a lot of churches.”
That is an extremely good jumper, Hayley. Kudos. Here is a behind-the-scenes clip from the making of this video that has pretty much no information in it whatsoever.
“Fastest time to run backwards holding stuffed animals while blindfolded for 30 feet” is getting there in terms of specificity, but the number of animals should probably be part of it.
And, obviously, it shouldn’t count if you drop the animals.
They were really getting there, but “Fastest time to unwrap a mummy” contains so little specific information as to be essentially meaningless.
It would be quite funny if this one was followed up with, “Highest fine paid by a band for driving offences committed during the shooting of a music video.” Nobody’s holding the steering wheel. Fucking hell, Paramore.
This single was a mahooooooossive hit, selling over two million copies and winning the GRAMMY for Best Rock Song. That makes it all the more impressive that it was, er, barfed out. Hayley told Rolling Stone, “Ain’t It Fun was like word vomit; it just came out, and now everybody’s singing it, it’s on the radio, it’s really cool.” While they didn’t necessarily foresee it being as successful as it was, they definitely has a feeling about it – Hayley prefaced a performance in December 2013 with, “You’re going to hear this a lot on the radio – get used to it!”
IS IT, THOUGH? IS IT? IS IT? IS IT?
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