Sound: When Papa Roach first came into the public eye it was with the release of the album Infest which was released in 2000 and the music video for "Last Resort" was released. At the time they were nu metal or rap metal, and one of the better new bands in the genre at the time. With the release of their next album they were already departing stylistically from nu metal and rap metal, and going more in the direction of hard rock. In subsequent releases they have left more of the nu metal sound behind in their past and delved deeper into the realm of mainstream hard rock. They have released more albums, and had a very successful touring career touring with bands such as Nickelback, Seether, Shinedown, Hinder and Saving Abel. While I don't begrudge them their success, I was much more fond of their first three albums than anything that came after. Bands have the right to change direction and add or remove creative elements of their music, and Papa Roach have definitely made some changes since their early days.
With the release of "The Connection", Papa Roach has added much more in the way of electronic elements in their music including more keyboards and even some loops. There are a few short moments of rap, which is a reminder of their older material, but very little and far between. The "Deluxe Edition" of the album has 15 tracks and clocks in at right at 50 minutes. The Connection is definitely much more pop oriented than their previous releases, and very radio friendly. Personally, I found the album disappointing after reading that they would be trying to join their newer sound with the older I was hoping for something a little different. What you get with "The Connection" is a collection of songs that would be perfectly at home in a playlist with Nickelback or any other mainstream radio rock. The production and mixing is horrendous due to over-compression to the point where the music has almost no dynamics present. The impression I get after listening to the album multiple times is that this album is 50 minutes of radio fodder. There is nothing interesting or intriguing about the album, it is just background noise. // 5
Lyrics: Jacoby Shaddix has been providing vocals as a founding member of Papa Roach since they formed, as high school students, in 1993. His vocals have changed over the course of their career from metal vocals and rap to mainly the mainstream rock vocals you would expect from a radio friendly mainstream rock act. I can't really complain about his vocal delivery except that from a stylistic point of view it isn't my cup of tea. Some of the very few "rapped" lyrics from the album from the song "Not That Beautiful" follows: "Everytime I look at your eyes/ I see a demon in disguise/ you f--king make me sick/ you are the one that I despise/ you take me you break me you feed me lies/ and all that you gave me in return was my demise/ so maybe I'm just crazy for believing this shit/ but god d-mn I can't believe I'm f--king dealing with this/ it's like a nightmare and I can't wake up/ I just can't wake up". There is still very little in the way of rap lyrics on the album.
Some of the more representative sung lyrics from the album are following, from the song "Walking Dead": "Everybody told me/ everybody told me that this would happen/ I didn't want to believe/ I didn't want to believe that you were right/ I was so caught up/ caught up in a world that I cut you out of/ now I'm hating myself/ I'm hating myself/ I never should have shut you out/ we are the walking dead/ swallow the lies we're fed/ I cover your eyes/ I cover your eyes/ I cover the truth then realize/ we're hanging by a thread/ we're the walking dead". Then the lyrics just go on like this. Nothing very impressive a lot of repetition, standard verse, chorus, verse structures. // 7
Overall Impression: My favorite songs on the album are "Still Swingin" and "What's Left Of Me" (which is only on the deluxe version of the album), but even these songs aren't especially memorable to me. My least favorite song on the album is probably "Leader Of The Broken Hearts". I can't help but think that Papa Roach came out strong in their early career and have just become more and more watered down as their career has progressed. At this point, in my opinion, they have become disposable mainstream radio rock and while I'm sure they'll still have a lot of success with their touring and have multitudes of fans, I won't be one of them. // 5
- Brandon East (c) 2012