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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Music Review-Looking back at thriving ‘00s alternative rock scene

Photo+courtesy+of+Dirty+Hit++++
Photo courtesy of Dirty Hit
Photo courtesy of Dirty Hit
“Riot!” was Paramore’s breakout album. It spent several weeks on the Billboard 200 chart, soaring to the 15th spot on Aug. 31, 2007.

ALYSON OLIVER
campus editor

“Riot!,” Paramore’s sophomore album, is a pedal-to-the-metal listening experience.

The record came out in 2007, at the perfect time for its sound and aesthetic to thrive, and the band found droves of success following its release. Lead vocalist Hayley Williams described it as a lightning in a bottle moment in a 2017 interview with Track 7.

Fittingly, the album is jam-packed with electricity.

It starts off strong by delivering four solid tracks blow-by-blow, with anthemic guitar octaves kickstarting the opener, “For a Pessimist, I’m Pretty Optimistic.” It ends with a halftime chorus and makes a quick transition into earworm “That’s What You Get.” Syncopated bass drives the verses and a singsong melody carries the chorus. The lyrics declare, almost joyfully, “I still try holding onto silly things, I never learn.”

And “Hallelujah,” the third track, takes an optimistic turn (“Somehow, everything’s gonna fall right into place”). It showcases Williams’ vocal chops from falsetto to belt notes.
The fourth track “Misery Business,” while a pivotal hit for Paramore, is no longer a song the band plays live.

Some have coined it anti-feminist, and Williams, who wrote the lyrics at 17, openly distanced herself from them in 2015.

She stopped singing a specific pair of offending lines (“Once a whore, you’re nothing more / I’m sorry, that’ll never change”) during concerts. In 2018, the band retired the song from its live shows completely.

Musically, however, “Misery Business” is phenomenal. Dark, palm-muted power chords drive the verses, and the song opens up seamlessly during the chorus, making for a dynamite hit single.

The band sustains this energy throughout most of the album’s tracklist. “crushcrushcrush” amps things up with its heartbeat-like drum opening and punchy chorus. Attitude-laden “Fences” explores the lack of privacy that goes along with fame (“You’re always on display / For everyone to watch and learn from / Don’t you know now?”).

However, the album suffers a bit of a sag near the middle. “Let the Flames Begin” and “Miracle” aren’t disappointing tracks, but they aren’t necessarily standouts.

“When It Rains” and “We Are Broken,” tell beautiful stories lyrically. Musically, though, Paramore’s more laid-back songs can veer a bit into weaker territory.

What’s more, “When It Rains” falls after “Misery Business” and “We Are Broken” after “crushcrushcrush,” making for some whiplash-inducing thematic dissonance.

Despite its flaws near the middle, “Riot!” ends just how it began — on a powerful note. The closing track “Born for This” describes the band’s relationship with its fans (“With your faith, you’ll trigger a landslide”). Fittingly, it features power-chord-punctuated audience call-and-response sections during the bridge and outro.

“Riot!” is a successful album for a reason — a time capsule to the dyed hair, heavy makeup, alt-rock days of yore. While a few songs may be a bit lackluster and the order of the tracks may not be perfect, none of the album is solidly unenjoyable. Even today, Paramore sustains its popularity as a band.

Crank up your car stereo and give “Riot!” a listen. Just make sure you keep a watchful eye on that speedometer.

 

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