Although Paramore’s new album, After Laughter, marks the return of founding drummer Zac Farro, frontwoman Hayley Williams remains the only permanent member of the Tennessee pop-punk group since the band began, five albums ago. But even as Paramore have diversified their sound, Williams’ side work as a guest vocalist has cast an even wider net, as she’s played with acts who are heavier or more poppy than anything in Paramore’s catalog.
Williams has experienced some of her greatest chart success as a hook singer, crooning the gentle melodies on Atlanta rapper B.o.B’s blockbuster single “Airplanes” and German producer Zedd’s EDM crossover hit “Stay The Night.” Her affection for indie and electronic music came out in a collaboration with Scottish synth-pop band CHVRCHES, and she’s embraced family-friendly pop stardom with high-profile collaborations, as on the cover of “Rainbow Connection” with Weezer for a Muppets tribute album.
But most of Hayley Williams’ guest work has been with the kinds of punk and emo bands that Paramore came up with in their Warped Tour days. She’s added a much needed feminine perspective to songs by Say Anything and has dueted on multiple occasions with husband Chad Gilbert of New Found Glory. But most impressively, Williams has been able to hang with metalcore bands like The Chariot and Set Your Goals on blistering uptempo collaborations, and Zac Farro’s recent return to Paramore was foreshadowed by her appearance on “As U Wave” by Farro’s long running solo project HalfNoise. — Al Shipley