Review Summary: Paramore are back with a bit more diversity rhythmically and vocally, but it's hard to say the same for the rest.
I never really liked the thought of a female singer fronting a band. Honestly, it's not a sexist thing. It's just some women have such wonderful voices but seem so out of place with the "chugging" riffage they sing over. The contrast of a soft, beautiful voice leading an onslaught of down-tuned guitars really doesn't sound so sweet when you come to think of it. It probably does not help that I am not much of a mainstream rock/metal fan either. All that aside I think Paramore have a good head on their shoulders. That head being Hayley Williams. She is obviously the reason they exist. If you took her away...well let's leave that alone.
Two things are mentioned when Paramore is brought into conversation.
First, for the most part Hayley Williams is undisputedly cute. That is what everyone hears a lot of. (Hell, I say it too.) Secondly, The girl has a damn good voice. She uses it fantastically throughout the whole album. Ranging from modest and solemn to quirky and cute. She sings with intention, and you can hear it quite well. From the verses of That's What You Get
to the chorus of Hallelujah
you will be enthralled. She doesn't play it simple and she is pretty dynamic for the most part.
Oh yeah, the band that backs her up isn't half bad either.
It's true. The rest of Paramore are pretty solid. Only solid. You really have to pay close attention to hear anything stand out. Chances for a solo on Misery Business
are passed up and you just settle for an octave lead that seemed to be put in at the last minute while the chorus lead in That's What You Get
is a highlight of the albums guitar work. The usual problem of the bass being inaudible isn't solved and it doesn't matter really, because the bassist doesn't do anything that you want to hear anyway. The drumming is far superior than the the latter combined. From time to time you will hear some catchy rhythms (Born For This
and Misery Business
)and it's a breath of fresh air for the band. The drumming is pretty interesting even if scattered, but less scarce than the guitar leads.
Songs such as That's What You Get
having the snare sending the song off to it's simple but excellent main riff into the verse, which has it's rhythm change the second time around, to it's exceptional chorus. While Misery Business
starts with it's lead played through a filter by what seems to be a fast forwarded (it's makes more sense when visualized) orchestra then introduced again by a more loud and energetic version that you may know as the lead single for this album. These are obviously the albums top tracks with Born For This
, being a great anthem-like track with some of those scarce leads and nice backing vocals done by fans, coming quite close.
The problem with Riot
is the lack of cohesiveness. There are not many parts where the band feels like it's whole. Save a few tracks, most of the album tends to be saved by Hayley. I only mention her as much as I do because she seems to be, at times, separate from her band mates for the simple that she surpasses them in talent.
That being said it's kind of obvious that, for now, nothing will surpass Hayley's vocals. She completely carries this band with ease. This isn't necessarily bad though. They have all the right ingredients for your regular pop punk album with the special spice that is Hayley's voice. The musicianship is fitting and all around normal when listening to the genre they are in. Expect nothing more but nothing less when coming into this record. It's fun and catchy while not being too generic and annoying. Paramore have proven that they have potential while displaying the fact that they are already putting it to good use.