Ten years ago to this month, an album came out that would go down in pop-punk history. Paramore were already gaining a pretty massive following after a stunning debut, All We Know Is Falling. This album was their sophomore effort, RIOT!. People still quote it as being one of the most influential pop-punk albums to this day, and quite rightly, it catapulted Paramore into fame, reaching the highs of, and eventually surpassing bands such as Fall Out Boy and Panic! At The Disco. But how does it hold up today?
Opening track ‘For A Pessimist, I’m Pretty Optimistic’ is just as good as the first time I ever heard it. It is a bomb of melody and vocal expertise, with a fantastically powerful chorus. This is followed by ‘That’s What You Get’, which is one of the singles of the album. Despite being a good song in its own right, it pales in comparison to the opener. Not to say that it’s a bad song, it’s just hard to compete with a chorus of the magnitude of the opener’s. ‘Hallelujah’, however is one of the standout songs of the album. Great guitar work and incredible vocals blend together to create and anthem of a song, and one I’m surprised doesn’t get as much attention as the other three singles. One of those singles, ‘Misery Business’, is up next. And what can I say about it other than that it’s incredible – the anthem of so many people’s teenage years. This is followed by a trio of songs: ‘When It Rains’, ‘Let The Flames Begin’, and ‘Miracle’. They are great songs in their own right, but can blend into each other if you’re not listening closely. The best out of these three is definitely ‘When It Rains’, which slows things down and creates a nice change of pace in the album. The album goes quiet for half a second, and then a faint drum beat is heard, signalling the start of ‘crushcrushcrush’. This, my childhood favourite song, still holds up to this day, sounding sinister yet incredibly catchy. The final stretch of the album is made up of ‘We Are Broken’, a slow, melodic ballad, ‘Fences’, an outstanding, energetic pop-punk anthem, and the final effort, ‘Born For This’, which manages to be almost as powerful as the opener.
It’s really no surprise this album changed pop-punk. It is a great mix of songs, that benefit from Hayley Williams’ creative approach to songwriting. At first look, this album is pure pop-punk, but if you delve deeper within that, you can see many layers of excellent songwriting and instrumental work. The songs all have a coherent sound, but they are very diverse, with a range of styles employed. In conclusion, an incredible album.
Best Song: Fences