Paramore - 'The Only Exception'
Honesty is a tough word to live up to in the field of modern popular song. The very act of singing your feelings instead of expressing them in the way your body most naturally would - crying, laughing, shouting etc - is a fundamentally dishonest thing to do. It might be cathartic, it might even count as a kind of therapy, but you're essentially putting a frame around your own troubled innards and inviting people to come and see the exhibition.
It's a layer of self-consciousness, a bit like that scene in Glee where Finn decides that the best way to tell his girlfriend's parents that they're about to become grandparents is to sing a song about it, to them, at the dinner table. It's a scene which came across as ridiculous and wrong, even on television; even on GLEE on television.
Try that in real life, and you'll probably find yourself having to eat a CD player. At carving-knife-point.
(Here's the video. It is tough being a hot girl.)
And yet, on the surface of things, singing is all about expressing raw emotion. The singer has to convince you, the listener, that they mean every word, even when those words are just a load of old nonsense. Hayley Williams is getting better at this with every single Paramore release. And this is the most honest-sounding yet.
Everything about it rings true: from the bits about the disillusionment of childhood, when you realise your parents are just people too, to the bits about the disillusionment of adulthood, when you realise that sometimes bad things happen to good people. And clearest and truest of all, the realisation that people who are good for you are few and far between and you need to cherish those people and most of all, ensure that they know about it.
Extra praise is due to the band for coming up with such a transparent, delicate arrangement, which allows Hayley to emote clearly, and builds up to a nice climactic power-ballad ending. It's about as honest as music gets, frankly, and as such, is pretty damn-near impossible to find fault with.