In 2005 a little band called Paramore was signed to Fueled By Ramen Records and released their debut, All We Know Is Falling, to a small, loyal fan base. Based out of Nashville, this south-bred band had humble beginnings, and now they have released their sophomore album Riot!.
Keep in mind that Paramore considers themselves Christians in a band, but not an actual "Christian band" by title. Their debut was full of catchy melodies and very positive, faith-based lyrics, but didn't make too much of a splash in either the secular or Christian markets. After two years of constant touring and the arrival of their third stint on the ever-popular Warped Tour this year, the band has won over a legion of fans, and with Riot!, they hope to prove they have staying power.
The album does just that. The production has taken a very high step up from their debut two years ago, and everything has a much fresher feel to it, even as the crunching guitars start off "For A Pessimist, I'm Pretty Optimistic," the rocking album opener. The album has a lot more attitude coming especially from lead singer Hayley Williams. She packs a good punch of emotion in each song written for Riot!. Many songs, like the raw rock and roll flavor of "Crushcrushcrush," the soft yet powerful "When It Rains," and the in-your-face ferocity of "That's What You Get," all come across as tunes about relationships. Other songs like "Fences" and the anthemic "Born For This" seem to be songs written strictly for fans, meant to be heard live. While the single "Misery Business" tells the story of a girl (which the songwriter describes as a "whore") who thinks she can have her way with any guy, "We Are Broken" is an obvious cry out to a higher power, asking the question, "What must we do to restore our innocence / And all the promise we adored? Give us life again, 'cause we just wanna be home?" The latter is sure to be a fan favorite, along with being one of the best songs on the album.
While this new album may lack some of the spiritual depth that rocked their debut, the whole record retains a very positive feeling to it, with tracks like "Miracle" and the powerful soaring vocals of "Hallelujah," and shows that Paramore has what it takes to possibly go even further than they have already. This small band has come a long way in the short time they have been together, and this marks an impressive beginning to what may shape up to be a great chapter for the foursome.- Review date: 6/12/07, written by Justin Mabee
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