“Young” and “vibrant” are perhaps the two best words to use when describing barely-out-of-their-teens pop rock act Paramore. Having caught the masses’ attention with 2005’s All We Know Is Falling, the Fueled By Ramen quartet have come barreling through the gates with the follow-up Riot! (with extra emphasis). Energy is by no means in short supply either, as opening track “For a Pessimist, I’m Pretty Optimistic” is riff-heavy, and extremely bouncy- with crush-worthy vocalist Hayley Williams making it clear her voice will undoubtedly be one of the album’s highlights.
Musically, they tread similar ground to their previous efforts; melodic, guitar-driven pop rock not too dissimilar from labelmates Cute is What We Aim For and Panic! At the Disco. Songs like “Hallelujah” and the single, “Misery Business,” are equal parts bouncy, as they are sugary sweet and youthful. The latter being the album’s up-and-go ode to The Go-Go’s by way of Banarama as they slip past Blondie. It’s a fun track, and while not all that interested in being too in-depth, is sure to kick start any lagging party. The album’s strongest effort is probably the closer, “Born For This,” which nixes Riot!’s slower moments for more up-tempo, sing-a-long punk rock tones that proves Paramore isn’t all sugar, sweet, and everything neat.
Unfortunately, not all of the album is as vital as its closer. Songs like “When It Rains” plays closer to mid-90s No Doubt with its broken hearted, mid-paced melodrama, while “Crushcrushcrush” sounds a little too much like something that would fit nicely over the opening credits of a Nickelodeon show. The piano-led balladry of “We Are Broken” is a nice example of youthful catharsis, but as expected, more advanced musical tastes will cringe at the tooth-decaying sweetness of it … all very clean, and beaming with high-production gloss and little rawness.
Riot! is a good album for Paramore, the songs are a little tighter than All We Know Is Falling, and it goes a long way in solidifying the band as a positive outfit in the current pop-rock landscape of hacks, has-beens, and never-shoulda-beens. There is plenty to like here, and younger audiences weaned on the Ashley Simpson-brand of rock music will enjoy what’s on offer. It’s not going anywhere near what the title implies (unless of course your brand of rebellion starts and ends of Avril Lavigne), but it has a good time getting there.
(Fueled by Ramen)