2018 is officially over. It’s time to stop rejoicing what a wonderful year 2018 was for music and time to get stuck into what 2019 has to offer, I am aware I have already missed one pretty decent album in Soilwork’s ‘Verkligheten’ but that doesn’t me mean I can’t make up for lost time. Come on then, 2019 show me what you have, I am anticipating some strong work!
Upon looking at the schedule it does seem my first review is for the new Papa Roach album…
For f**ks sake!
Papa Roach are right up there in the same league of Disturbed, namely the “how the f**k are they still going” category. Since gracing us with their presence almost twenty years ago with that one song everyone sings at one in the morning, p***ed up, angry and confused. Which is pretty much who I am at one in the morning after my seventeenth double spiced rum and coke.
For twenty years Papa Roach has pretty much been treading water since their debut ‘Infest’ but you can’t really fault the albums. Usually every now and then they throw out a pretty good album or at least some songs loosely tied together over the same cringe worthy tones of Jacoby Shaddix telling us to rise up and take down… F**k I don’t know… The neighbour that won’t give his ball back? Which does bring about the question, what is Jacoby talking about half the f***ing time?
I will give Papa Roach this, musically they have proven they can expand their musical horizon’s and are not afraid of deviation when it’s needed, this is probably why they have managed to stick around for so long. However, if there is one thing that really brings my p**s to a boil when it comes to Papa Roach it’s Jacoby Shaddix’s redundant and often paint by numbers song writing skills.
For f**ks sake man you’re in your forties, how have you been around for over twenty years and not improve your songwriting prowess one bit? Even Fred Durst has branched out from angry young adult with sexual frustration to an angry middle aged adult with a gripe over the rising costs of pate and is still sexually frustrated.
If everyone stood up and rose every time Jacoby Shaddix asked us to, we would have installed him as the supreme fascist dictator of the universe. The Jeremy Corbyn of Rock music dear readers – great ideas on paper, would rather spend his days making jam and cannot be bothered to be more diverse on his policies or shed any more details into what we’re supposed to do after we “stand up and rise”.
This is pretty much where I find myself with their latest offering ‘Who Do You Trust?’ I’m not really supposed to judge an album by its cover, but from its dreary album cover of an ocean to the mind numbing song titles, I kinda knew I was up for a rough time. The structure is pretty much typical for a band of that era, it’s twelve songs that are meant to begin with a ‘punch’ and when I say ‘punch’, I have to also say that toddlers have punched me harder than this album. We then have our middle softer songs that are meant to engage the listener into some bittersweet nostalgia kick about lost love or that one summer that was awesome and this is pretty much where the album lost me, because from here, it doesn’t pick up at all.
This is incredibly dull even for Papa Roach’s standards, while you can tell musically they’re trying to grow up with their listeners and kudos to them for trying, it comes across as pretty generic. A cross between 21 Pilots and Post Malone, Papa Roach are really trying to sell you the idea they’re still down with the kids, when the album just drones on.
It starts with a synthy number ‘The Ending’ which would have been amazing if Depeche Mode didn’t come up with the same synth line in the 1980’s. Lyrics about Shaddix being reckless, paranoid, delusional (I guess this is what happens when you become a sobered up born again?), just before the standard “stand up and rise” or “I’ll never back down” lyric, rinse and repeat for twelve f***ing songs.
Over the course of the album I was treated to prozac flavoured music, it makes one feel very fucking drowsy, the ‘heavy tracks’ such as ‘Renegade Music’ or the title track were at best radio friendly and safe but I think the point I completely broke down and gave up on the album came from its eighth track ‘Top of the World’.
After going through dreary track after dreary track of samples, drum machines, acoustic guitars and some pretty laughable lyrics, I had to double check to make sure I wasn’t listening to a 21 Pilots album! Here’s a contest in laughable lyrics, shiny gold star if someone can work out what the f**k “We used to say we’d never change, now we’re trying not to show our age, I know you said you needed space, so you moved all the furniture all around this place” means.
Thirty-eight minutes of this middle of the road s**t was quite enough for me. The only heavy track was the 1:21 ‘I Suffer Well’ yet another Depeche Mode reference I see and this track stuck out like a sore thumb. So just to summarise, the track that stuck out on a Papa Roach album was a minute and a half long and was the musical equivalent of a really loud passing of wind on a boring Sunday afternoon?
What the f**k did I just listen to?!
I wanted to give this album the benefit of the doubt, because I know Papa Roach can create something different and ear catching. When the effort is put in, there is more than enough evidence to that. Musically the album goes in different directions some old school fans are not used to and it is great that after twenty years they want to experiment, but it shouldn’t come at a price where the music comes across as a B-Sides collection to a heavy indie band.
I’m not overly angry at the album, but my fourteen year old self is a little crestfallen, to which I say, “Hold on to your sphincter little one! Wait until you become an adult!“. If phoned in safe and friendly radio rock is your thing, then fill your boots, this album is perfect to start your bleak 2019 and you do have to be bleak to appreciate this album.
A musical equivalent of when you spot yours truly at 1am, after 17 double spiced rums. Easy, oh so disappointing and the money you spent on wooing me may has well got you a more fulfilling kebab.