Review Summary: Paramore deliver the same type of sugary, mega-catchy Pop Punk found on their debut with their Sophomore release.Riot!
is kinda sorta everything you expect coming into it. Whatever hopes one might have had for Paramore to make a real evolution from All We Know is Falling
are crushed with one listen to the new disc’s first single, Misery Business
. The tune is sugary, distorted guitar-heavy Power Pop, everything that Paramore’s debut was. Sure, Riot!
isn’t quite All We Know is Falling pt. 2
but, with Paramore’s ever growing fan base and mega-popular label, you knew the group weren’t going to be taking any major risks. Then again, it isn’t all that bad that Paramore haven’t changed their sound much: their last album was the guilty pleasure you didn’t feel too guilty listening to.
The most noticeable change in Paramore’s sound is a more danceable feel. On That’s What You Get
, the band alternate from funky, wah-wahed guitar aided, verses to equally danceable, but much more Pop-Punk, choruses with ease. Fences
has a more cabaret-feel, taking a definite influence from the second half of label mates Panic! at the Disco’s album (another synth laden, danceable track Crushcrushcrush
also sounds like something Panic! could have written). Fences, despite being a departure from the rest of Riot!
still seems natural, and is one of the album’s highlights. Hallelujah
(not the Leonard Cohen song) finds Paramore throwing in some electronic “experimentation”, adding soaring synthesizer melodies and brief bouts of electronic drumming to their usual perfectly groomed power chords.
It is definitely a good thing that Riot!
, like All We Know, is propelled by lead singer Hayley Williams vocals. Her voice is strong and well suited for the type of music she sings. The ridiculously catchy melodies she belts out, dumb lyrics or not, make every track on Riot!
sing-a-long worthy. And, sad to say or not, her presence is probably the only thing that keeps Paramore from sounding exactly like the legions of Pop-Punkers out there today. The three guys in Paramore, Jeremy Davis, Josh Farro and Zach Farro (Bass, Guitar and Drums, respectively) don’t really do much to differ them selves from the rest of crowd. That said, Farro has hooks coming out of his ass and his rhythm section is about as tight as you could want.
There isn’t really much doubt that Riot!
is a strong album. The only real bad moment comes in the form of the second ballad We Are Broken
. Everything about the track, from the cheesy piano tone to the equally cheesy strings to some of Hayley’s lyrics ( “your arms like towers/tower over me”
, seems bland, uniteresting and (I feel like I’m repeating myself here) cheesy, almost like a (slightly) heavier version of something that would get sung on American Idol. The first ballad When it Rains
is miles better, though it also seems kind of generic.
As someone who was really hoping for Paramore to evolve on Riot!
, I feel kind of weird proclaiming the album’s most “All We Know” moment to be its best but, there isn’t much denying it: album ender, Born for This
trumps the rest of Riot!
. The track’s gang vocals and staccato guitar parts make it one of the most upbeat tracks on the album and, while the lyrics may be bland ( “Everybody sing, like it’s the last song you will ever sing/tell me, tell me can you feel the pressure now”
), the chorus’s melody is easily single-worthy. Possibly even more so than Misery Business, though that track makes a fine single itself.
So now I come to the question whose answer I have been mentally debating for the last few days. Is Riot!
better than All We Know is Falling
? The answer is probably a no. for me at least. All We Know is Falling
just seems much more innocent, emotional and probably better written. Like maybe popularity and money have taken away something Paramore used to have. Maybe not though, whatever the case Riot!
should suit any Paramore fans needs, including my own.