Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

A Cover Done Right | “Burning Down the House” by Paramore


On Jan. 10, 2024, A24 released a teaser for an upcoming project — not for a movie, as one would suspect. The video features Hayley Williams, the lead singer of Paramore, picking up a mysterious package. In the words of Brad Pitt, “What’s in the box?” The package contains a gray, oversized boxy suit, an iconic David Byrne fit. Williams proceeds to pick up a tape of Stop Making Sense, the live album that accompanies the Talking Heads concert film of the same name. The screen then cuts to black and reveals the title of the project: Stop Making Sense: A Tribute Album. It is then revealed that Paramore, the legendary rock group, will have the first track on the album with their cover of “Burning Down the House.”

I lived off the track snippet at the end of the teaser for almost three weeks. From the small reveal at the end, I could tell this track had something special about it. The full cover dropped on Jan. 30, 2024, as the lead single for the project, and let me tell you, it blew my socks off. Paramore was made for this cover.

The track itself is extremely catchy like the original. The cover stays respectful to the Talking Heads and follows the majority of its format but sprinkles in that addicting Paramore pizzazz to make a masterpiece. Hayley Williams is considered one of the greatest vocalists of this generation, and this track adds fuel to the fire. It’s very easy to hear the excitement and enjoyment in her voice. The occasional grit, fun riffs and screams create this “let loose” atmosphere, which makes the track very easy to vibe to. Instrumentation is also spectacular in this cover. Paramore takes hold of and masters the groovy synths and drum fills throughout the song, which induce an utmost urge to boogie. 

The ending differs slightly from the original in the best way. In addition to the funky little synths, Taylor York, lead guitarist of Paramore, adds an electrifying guitar solo to the end of the track. Instead of fading out like the original, the track ends with a bang, which feels much more fitting. 

David Byrne, the lead singer of Talking Heads, stated in an interview with WSJ that the title “Burning Down the House” was simply a “…metaphor for destroying something safe that entrapped you.” He also explained his view on the song’s meaning: “I envisioned the song as an expression of liberation, to break free from whatever was holding you back.” Paramore embodies this message perfectly through the way they went about this cover, which cements the track as one of my favorite covers of the last year.

The day after the song’s release, A24 posted a video to their Instagram page listing the 15 additional artists who will be featured on the album. It’s a good mix of popular names and up-and-coming artists. There is no set release date for the album. All that’s known is that it’s “coming soon.”

I am ecstatic and overjoyed for this tribute album as a Talking Heads fan and general music nerd. I told my close friends that I will be the most annoying person ever when this project releases, and I stick by that. If you’re in the mood to dance around or do a little jig, perhaps, I highly recommend listening to this track, along with the original. Any reason to boogie is a good one. 

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About the Contributor
Brooke Racine, Writer
Brooke Racine (she/her) is a first-year student studying journalism at Michigan State. Besides writing for Impact and simply being cool, she enjoys playing her bass guitar, record collecting, creative writing, driving around aimlessly with a Baja Blast and hitting the trails on her snowmobile. You can reach this chill individual at [email protected]. “Hard to believe in God when there ain’t no mirrors around” - Tyler, the Creator

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