Paramore - Riot!

Oh, how I wanted to hate this album.

After the release of their debut, All We Know is Falling, I sat back and watched this band become the talk of our little website. I guess when you have a large enough group of pubescent boys together, any female immediately becomes a discussion topic. This phenomenon has led to countless threads discussing the lead singer of this band (a girl for those not in the know) and her dating habits, relative “hotness,” fashion sense, and just about any other topic not related to her band’s music. So when this album arrived in my mailbox, I was, to put it mildly, not in the mood to give it the time of day. So I did the rational thing: I ignored it. I hid it on my shelf and pretended it never arrived. Didn’t even open the CD case once. Mature? I know.

Fast forward a few weeks and I’m sitting in my room arguing with myself about whether or not I should turn on the air-conditioning. The amount of energy I will have to expend by walking downstairs and operating the thermostat is just enough to make me contemplate its relative worth. I finally concoct a brilliant plan to get myself off my ass: I will grab myself something to drink and go for a jog around the block. I figure by the time I get back – I’ll have raised my body temperature from being outside that when I enter the slightly cooler environment of my home it’ll feel like heaven. So I grab a portable CD player and look at my shelf of “listen to” CDs. I grab one and head outside. I frown slightly upon realizing what I’ve selected, yet pop in that Paramore album I was secretly hoping I’d never hear. I press play and head down the street. It’s about 45 seconds later that a thought enters my brain I never expected: “Ah, fuck, this shit is catchy as balls.”

So it is within that run around the neighborhood that I had my first sugar-filled taste of the new album from Paramore. For my entire jog I enjoyed the music – by the time I had arrived back home and finished a cold shower – I had completely forgotten it. And that is about the most accurate description I can give of my feelings on this album: It’s extremely catchy and almost instantly forgettable. Nothing I’d decide to listen to on a daily basis, but an album I wouldn’t mind hearing on a road-trip, beach party, or BBQ.1

The music is pretty much what you’d expect. No huge risks, nothing really outside of the norm, and usually the instruments simply act as a vehicle for a little driven angst. What’s nice about portions of the CD is how the band’s not afraid to play some faster and harder tunes … in fact, my personal favorite, “Crushcrushcrush,” is possibly the most “rock” tune on the disc and contains arguably one of the catchiest hooks recorded this year.

The obligatory ballads (“When It Rains” and “We Are Broken”) work well in the album’s sequence. How they’re sung and the melodies that accompany them are what lodge each tune in your head. The music appears great for summer as only a pop album can be. If anything, I’d compare them to Boys Like Girls. They’re just really great at what they do.

The album comes down to this: for what they do, they do it well. Fans of the band will absolutely love this album as I see no reason why a single Paramore fan would be let down. People who wrote the band off before, but like pop music, should probably check out a few of the new tracks (I’d recommend “Crushcrushcrush” and “When it Rains”) to see if they’ve produced something you would consider a guilty pleasure. People who hate perfectly produced (Mr. Bendeth is at his best) pop-music … stay very far away from this release.

Paramore could very well be the next incarnation of No Doubt; catchy, enough rock to add a little bit of an edge, and everyone knows the only member that really matters (sorry guys, it’s true) is the lead singer. Call it a “guilty pleasure” if you must but I’m relatively certain many of you will have a similar reaction upon hearing this album in full, maybe something like: “fuck, I can’t believe I actually like this.”

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  1. Note: I still listen to this album on a near monthly basis some 10 years later. I was flat out wrong about saying it was forgettable.