Sound — 7
Although they have country backgrounds, hailing from Frankin, Tennessee, the members of the young foursome Paramore would never betray this secret; their style can be described as something like "Avril-Lavigne-meets-Boys-Like-Girls." However, it is undeniable that their music has remained the same since the release of their debut, All We Know Is Falling. This album could be easily classified as rock, while their new set of tracks have an unmistakable pop aura around their edges. Like the hit single "Misery Business," the entire album comes out of the Paramore machine processed, touched up and radio-ready, while their older stuff had a more raw sound. These songs, nonetheless, are impossible not to sing along to. Driven by clean bubbly guitar and fronted by spunky vocalist Hayley Williams, they are closer to the dance-hall tracks played on the radio than the familiar rock ballads of their first release. Truth be told, it seems that although Riot! will gain Paramore many new fans of pop music, it may also lose them some of the more die-hard listeners to former "relatives" such as Flyleaf, Mindless Self Indulgence and Jimmy Eat World.
Lyrics — 9
It is immediately apparent that the lyrics are the high point of the album. Though the tunes themselves are far from epic, the sharp lines deliver a blow straight to the heart, reminding the listener of real-life experiences. For example, Misery Business delivers the venom of sweet revenge, chorusing with, "I never meant to brag, but I got him where I want him now, and if you could then you know you would, 'cause God, it just feels so good." Equally bitter is the verse of That's What You Get: "No Sir, well I don't want to be the blame, not anymore. It's your turn to take a seat; we're settling the final score." Shockingly mature for Williams' tender age are the words to the tragically uplifting We Are Broken. The refrain pleads, "What can we do to restore our innocence and all the promise we adored? Give us life again, 'cause we just want to be whole."
Overall Impression — 8
In summary, Riot!, although it shines brightly for its insightful lyrics, pales in comparison to the quartet's 2005 release. The highlights are as follows: the bouncy sugar-coated single Misery Business, the soulful We Are Broken, the religion-based Hallelujah, which pleads for faith. The biggest downfall of the album, in my opinion, is the guitar; while All We Know Is Falling is lifted by heavy, sure guitar, Riot! is simply supplemented by guitar licks here and there. Besides this, I would give Riot! a positive review, and would go to the trouble to get it again if I lost it. It is most comparable to a few of the other bands on the same label (Fueled By Ramen), such as Fall Out Boy, Panic! At the Disco, Cute is What We Aim For and Cobra Starship.