Don’t be fooled. Paramore’s latest release Riot! is a pop record. The production is slick, the melodies sound familiar and there’s nothing here to challenge the listener. But really, do you need to be? Riot! is a very solid and respectable album but the only thing it will incite is a shortage of orange hair dye at Hot Topic.
The buzz surrounding Paramore’s sophomore release swirls mainly around nineteen-year-old lead singer Halley Williams. With her blazing hair and Pat Benatar-like frame, she commands the microphone like a singer twice her age. Her vocals exude confidence, power and end up carrying the entire album. Did we mention yet that she’s pretty hot as well?
As far as the music, the band does nothing to differentiate them from every other pop-punk Warped Tour band out today. Besides the two lead singles, “Misery Business” and “CrushCrushCrush,” eighty percent of the songs are filler and easily skipped. The songwriting is fairly formulaic and the lyrics, while definitely catchy, are forgettable. For all intensive purposes, this could be Haley’s debut solo album.
While this album came out last summer, the band has recently exploded due to exposure on MTV and an intensive marketing plan as apart of their controversial “360” record deal-one in which their label and band share all generated revenues from merchandise, touring and endorsements, not just record sales. While it seems to be working for Paramore, it remains to be seen if the model will be adopted by others in the industry.
The true test will come with time and the next passing trends. Haley has a great voice but how far can she carry her high school friends through the scene? Even though Haley portrays herself as very level headed and remains committed to Paramore, we could very well be looking at the next Gwen Stefani.
If you’re looking for a female fronted band that also has the chops to back its singer’s talent, check out Damone. But if you got a thing for redheads and recycled riffs, stick with Paramore.
Key Tracks: That’s What You Get, Misery Business, CrushCrushCrush