Misery Business

"Misery Business" is a song by American rock band Paramore and serves as the lead single from their second studio album, Riot! (2007). The song impacted radio on May 22, 2007. "Misery Business" peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 26 (for the week of January 12, 2008), making it the band's highest-charting single until "Ain't It Fun" reached No. 10 in 2014. It also peaked at No. 3 on the Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart. "Misery Business" was the group's first charting single in the UK with more than 20,000 copies created within less than a year of the song's debut. It also succeeded in many countries including Mexico, Argentina, Chile, and Brazil. The song is considered the band's "breakthrough" hit and is crediting with introducing the band to a mainstream audience. The video for "Misery Business" was the third to be directed by Shane Drake for the band, and Alternative Press named "Misery Business" the Video of the Year in 2007.

On July 25, 2015, the song was certified triple-platinum in the United States, the first of the band's songs to have sold three million units.

On September 7, 2018, Hayley Williams announced during a concert that the band will play the song "for the last time for a really long time", mainly due to a line from the second verse that was deemed sexist and anti-feminist.


The phrase, "Misery Business", was first heard in a Stephen King adaptation psycho-thriller film, Misery (1990). The origin of the song is ambiguous with Williams giving conflicting explanations. The Fueled by Ramen website reports that Williams wrote the song based on feedback the band received after a question she posted on the band's LiveJournal asking what people were ashamed of. However, on the band's blog, Williams claims the song was written about a past experience involving a male friend who she felt was being manipulated by a girl, and later on when Williams and her friend began to date, she penned the lyrics to "finally explain my side of the story and feel freed of it all". Later, Williams addressed the lyrics in the chorus:Williams joked on Twitter on May 27, 2013, that it was about London's Heathrow Airport.

Chart performance

At the time of the release of "Misery Business", Paramore was a guest on MTV's "Discover and Download" which gave the band time in the spotlight to reach out and explain the purpose of their album and how they wish to see it grow. This song is the group's first single to enter the Billboard Hot 100 chart. During the week of June 25, 2007, it debuted at #99 on the chart and reached #75 two weeks later before dropping off the chart in the following week. Due to increased digital downloads during the month of August 2007, it re-entered the Billboard Hot 100 during the chart week of September 6, 2007 at #34. It reached its peak position of #26 during the chart week of January 12, 2008. It was the band's highest-charting single at that time, prior to the release of "Ain't It Fun" in 2014, but "Misery Business" still remains the band's most-played song on the radio to date whereas Ain't It Fun never succeeded on alternative radio due to the band's change of style as well as not having the staying power "Misery Business" had, despite charting higher; leaving "Misery Business" as their most popular song to date. It peaked at #3 on the Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart. It also attained moderate crossover success, reaching #12 on Pop Songs chart and #31 on Adult Pop Songs chart. The song was certified Platinum in the U.S on September 17, 2008, with over 1,000,000 digital downloads. In December 2010 the song topped the two million mark in paid downloads. It has sold 2,464,000 copies in the US as of June 18, 2014.

The single was re-released in the UK Accorto Record Store on February 11, 2008 and included three vinyl records. To date, it has peaked at #17 on the UK Singles Chart. It is also the group's first charting single in the UK. It was a success in many countries including Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Brazil and others. It debuted on the Dutch Top 40 peaking at #28 and in Finland at #23.

In 2009, the song was certified Platinum in Australia. Selling over 15,000 copies in New Zealand, the song was certified Gold on February 1, 2008, with the shipment of over 7,500 copies.

Music video

The music video was filmed at Reseda High School in Reseda, California. Directed by Shane Drake, who also directed Paramore's videos for "Pressure" and "Emergency", it features a band performance at a school.

The video starts out and has cut scenes of Paramore performing the song with an assortment of "RIOT!"s (a reference to the album's name) in the background all throughout the video. At the same time, a girl (Amy Paffrath), presumably the "whore" as subject in the song, ensues terror onto students at a high school. She pushes aside cheerleaders, cuts off another girl's braid, further injures a boy in an arm sling, and ruins a relationship between a couple. In the end, the band members themselves confront her and Williams gives her a taste of her own medicine by taking out her chicken fillets and wiping the make-up off her face, thus revealing the girl's true identity and putting an end to her egotistical reign at the high school.

The video was nominated for the "Best Video" award at the Kerrang! Awards 2007 but lost to Fall Out Boy's "This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race."

Fueled by Ramen (FBR+) also released an alternate cut of the video that removes the high school clips and features only performance segments.

Track listings

A CD and two 7" singles were released in the UK on June 18, 2008. The CD single features a new song, "Stop This Song (Love Sick Melody)", and the two vinyls feature two covers: an electronic remix of "My Hero" by the Foo Fighters, and "Sunday Bloody Sunday" by U2.

Charts and certifications

Weekly charts

Year-end charts


In popular culture

In various media

  • The song was used in professional StarCraft's Shinhan Bank Pro League.
  • It was featured in an episode of the British television soap opera Hollyoaks in March 2008 ("Born for This" was also used in another episode in September 2008, and then later "Hallelujah" in October 2008).
  • It was in a season 7 episode of Degrassi: The Next Generation, and is included in the Music from Degrassi: The Next Generation soundtrack.
  • It is a playable track in the games Guitar Hero World Tour, in which Hayley Williams is also a playable character, as well as Rock Band 3.
  • It is featured in the 2008 video game Saints Row 2.
  • It is featured on the soundtrack of the video game NHL 08.


  • The Voice's contestant Charlotte Sometimes covered the song during the first live round in the second season.
  • Metalcore band, Sea of Treachery, has covered "Misery Business". Williams has praised their cover.
  • Aaron Marsh of Copeland did a live cover, which Williams praised on Twitter. Machine Gun Kelly & Travis Barker of Blink 182 in April of 2020

    Other references

  • The Professional Bull Riders tour features a bull named Misery Business.

    Release history