Paper Lanterns

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Paper Lanterns
Written by: Billie Joe Armstrong
Song length: 2:23
Album: Slappy (1990)
1,039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours (1991)
Previous song: "The Judge's Daughter"
Next song: "Why Do You Want Him?"

"Paper Lanterns" is the first song on the Slappy EP and the 11th song on the compilation album 1039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours. This song was played extensively up until the Warning era. The band played it again during the 21st Century Breakdown era, but disused it again afterwards. Starting 2012 it's only played rarely. Requesting the song during live performances have been proven fruitless so far. It is, however, the most played song from the Sweet Children era, not counting their cover of "Knowledge".[1]

The most memorable performance of "Paper Lanterns" was during Woodstock '94. It was a very rainy day and during the previous songs mud started to accumulate on stage, thrown there by the crowd. During the bridge/solo part of the song Billie threw the mud back in the crowd, teasing them to throw it back on stage. This resulted in a mudfight that completely covered the band members in mud. Mike was completely unrecognizable and one of the security guards confused him with a fan who'd gotten onstage. The security guard tackled the bassist, knocking two of his teeth out. This performance earned Woodstock '94 the nickname "Mudstock".

Song meaning[edit | edit source]

Often called "The Friendzone Song", "Paper Lanterns" is about the aftermath of love and a feeling now buried in the back of the narrator’s heart. Despite just being friends, there is still something left and he still has "inappropriate" feelings about this person he used to love. The paper of a faded love and the fire of jealousy give a dangerous combination – paper lanterns. Jealousy is still burning inside this friendship – the narrator realizes that he will never have rest, the remains of love with never let him feel comfortable around this person. He’s wondering why he keeps thinking about them – he accepts the fact that they are only friends, and yet he can’t help the way he feels, because you can’t tell your heart what to do.[2]

Lyrics[edit | edit source]

Main article: Paper Lanterns/lyrics

References[edit | edit source]