Sound — 8
Austin based band Riddlin' Kids released their sophomore full-length Stop The World on October 19, 2004 -- the product of more than two years of hard work since their debut record Hurry Up And Wait. If the latter could be considered as unobtrusive, plain and simple pop-punk record, Stop The World has more mature features both musically and lyrically. Sure, loud guitars and versatile Clint Baker's voice are still in place, but the collaboration with new producer Chuck Gladfelter (ex-Dovetail Joint) and Paul Ebersold (3 Doors Down) imparts broader rock sound. It becomes clear when it comes to the title track "Stop The World" with its powerful and pushing riffs, or impressive eleventh track "Ship Jumper" with its punk-hardcore mixture -- screaming and slashing bridges and choral choruses, -- and closing track "Just Another Day" with killer intro/interlude riffs and overall punkish spirit. This album shows that Riddlin' Kids keep the mark of traditional "pop-punkers" -- extremely energetic, but still fun to listen to the whole album on loop without getting tired -- but also they try to diversify their sound as far as possible applying the different effects and music styles. "People ask us what we consider ourselves," says Baker about styles in band's music "We're punk-influenced, but we have just as many pop, metal and 80's new wave elements. Stir everything together and the end result is the Riddlin' Kids."
Lyrics — 6
The Riddlin' Kids' lyrics become more mature and serious on Stop The World. For instance, "Apology" Clint Baker dedicates to the frontman of the Interscope band Pseudopod, who have come down with a brain tumour just as his debut album was about to be released. "I realized, when I was having a bad day, that things could be so much worse, I tried to put myself in his position. The song is about him apologizing to his wife that she has to deal with his illness. "I could never imagine having to go through that," says Baker. The tracks "Revenge," "Turn Around" and "Ship Jumper" are about the band's disappointment of music business. "I Hate You" is about couples who love to fight with one another and then the next thing you know they're in the sack together," says Baker. "Promise You Anything" is "just trying to get some action the guy way... by being willing to say whatever it takes: tell me everything about you / anything you want to say / I'll forget it anyway." The closing "Just Another Day" is an anthem to live the life light-heartedly. "It's about being young and not wanting to grow old without taking advantage of the opportunities presented to you," says Clint Baker. "About not being unsatisfied with your life." It seems that with this album the guys tried to introduce some adult and exciting themes, and they did it! However, it's still not about originality and you really won't learn anything you didn't know before: the lyrics on Stop The World is slightly different than what we had on the Kids' debut, but it's still the same punk protest and copycat of many pop-punk alikes. As to the voice, it's nothing special as well.
Overall Impression — 8
"We didn't want to lose our sound from the first record, but at the same time we're older and more experienced," Says Baker on what to expect from this album, "I think we achieved the perfect balance between keeping what we had and stretching out." Well, Stop The World is definitely not a huge but still significant step forward from pop-punk adolescence to more interesting and rich music. Although it's only 38 minutes long, these minutes are full of catchiness, explosiveness and drive. There are no absolutely outstanding tracks on Stop The World, because all of them are individual and superior in their own way. I wish them to renounce the domination of pop-punk in their music and not to be afraid of experiments with the sound -- people appreciate it. In a word, there is more room to grow further.