In 2005, a new band rose to the top of the pop-punk genre. That band was Paramore. Their upbeat sound and catchy lyrics were a big hit and a fan favorite on the Warped Tour. Their debut album “All We Know Is Falling” was an unexpected hit although at times, it was obvious that front women Hayley Williams’ voice carried the songs. Regardless, it was a great way to begin a career. In 2007, Paramore returned with their follow-up album, “RIOT!” And there are no signs of sophomore slump. When a band has a great debut album, it’s rare to top it. On a rare occasion, it does happen (exp. Franz Ferdinand’s “You Could Have So Much Better”) this is one of those times. “RIOT!” is considerably more punk sounding. “Falling” was kind of schizophrenic in its sound. There was rock, pop, and punk. “RIOT!” is definalty more punk and more melodic at times. There are no filler tracks on here. On “Falling” (personally) I thought there were three or so songs, none of them bad, that were there just to add length to the album (which didn’t help the 30ish minute time span) That’s not the case here. Every track has its own unique sound and meaning behind it.
“RIOT!” kicks off with the humorously titled, “For a Pessimist, I’m Pretty Optimistic” which has Williams singing the emotional line, “I put so much faith in you, and you just threw it away.” This has a great intro which sets the pace of the rest of the song and the album. My favorite track on here is “Hallelujah.” Williams’ vocals shine the brightest here. Much like on “Falling” she hits every note perfectly. The band also gets every note perfect. The lyrics are excellent with a great chorus (“This time we’re not giving up. Let’s make this last forever. Scream Hallelujah. We’ll make this last forever”) Another gem is “Let The Flames Begin.” “Flames” is one of the more emotional, melodic songs on here, a la “Franklin” and “My Heart” from “Falling.” To be honest, I have no clue what their talking about, but it’s good. I thought I had an idea, until the chorus (This is how we dance when, when they try to bring us down…try to burn our houses down. This is how we’ll sing, oh) then I was confused. But, if you liked “Franklin” you’ll like “Flames.” The song that’s had the most airtime and perhaps the biggest song of their career (so far) is “Misery Business.” By far, “misery” is the most quirky and upbeat song on “RIOT!” It tells a story of a girl (Hayley) who is after a guy who is with another girl (got it?). Then the girl dumps the guy and Hayley hooks up with him (watch the vid and listen to the song to make sense of it). The chorus is a harsh statement to the girl (“It was never my intention to brag, but I got him where I want him now…God, it feels so good…”) In a way, this song fits “RIOT!” and in a way it doesn’t. It fits Paramore’s song-style musically, but not lyrically. Paramore isn’t exactly known for harsh songs (and using the Lord’s name in vain, which Williams later apologized for since she is religious.) Although, it is another awesome song by the band. “crushcrushcrush” is their latest single and one of the standouts on the album. One of the best parts of this song is before the chorus’. The music slows down and Williams’ whispers “c-c-crush, c-c-crush, crush crush.” It’s small, but it adds a nice effect. The lyrics are top notch with some great rhymes. There are subtle hints of Christian lyrics throughout “RIOT!” Most apparent in “We Are Broken” (“Give us life again because we wanna be whole”) and in “Miracle,” this is unusual for a secular band. But, it is appreciated. So, why not a five? Ummm…The cover booklet only has the lyrics for four songs (?) and I would’ve liked some screaming, at least like at the end of "My Heart” on “Falling.” Other than that, it doesn’t feel “classic.” But, it’s very, very close.
From beginning to end, it’s apparent that Paramore’s not like any other band that’s big today. No swearing, no suicidal lyrics, and no innuendoes. I said it in my review for “Falling” and I’m saying it hear: Paramore is a breath of fresh air. “RIOT!” closes with “Born For This” where Williams and company sing and chant the lines, “We were born for this” and “Do you feel the pressure?” Every other band should feel the pressure because this is the hottest band today. Paramore was born for this, and I’m very glad they were.
1)- For A Pessimist, I’m Pretty Optimistic- 9/10
2)- That’s What You Get- 8.5/10
4)- Misery Business- 9/10
5)- When It Rains-8/10
6)- Let The Flames Begin- 9/10
7)- Miracle- 8.5/10
8)- crushcrushcrush- 10/10
9)- We Are Broken- 8/10
10)- Fences- 9/10
11)- Born For This- 9/10