Album Review: Papa Roach- Who Do You Trust?
'The album ironically starts off with 'The Ending'. The song begins slow and gentle. The drums kick in slowly in the background, which are then joined by a mournful techno beat and plucky guitars. The first thing that popped into my mind when I heard this song was that I was listening to a remix of the intro to Stranger Things. There's an interesting juxtaposition of the slow, haunting melody and the more pleading, desperate lyrics. I did find however, that the song quickly outwore its welcome and just went on for what felt like far too long. However, the themes of the album are established quickly, a sense of paranoia, and a cluttered mind.
Renegade Music' sounds almost like a war anthem with the beat of the drums. However, if 'The Ending' piqued your curiosity for the rest of the album, then 'Renegade Music' successfully manages to squash it. The song unfortunately just sounds too generic, and the repetitive drum beat during the chorus certainly wasn't doing the song any favours. The song is a rallying cry for people to take back their lives, and find meaning and purpose in this 'Renegade Music'.
'Not The Only One' is an immediate change of pace from the previous two tracks. It has a softer acoustic guitar and the drums are faster paced. If the song preceding this was repetitive and even a little bland, this is the exact opposite. The fast paced, cheerful guitars is honestly jarring with the lyricism, but it works. Lyrically, this song provides comfort. It reminds us that nobody is alone in heartache, demons and the problems that we experience, but it perhaps carries a nihilistic message that we aren't special just because we've got demons that plague us. The bass near the end of the song builds in intensity, the same note being held for dramatic effect. It has a strange mishmash of sounds, even throwing in what can only be described as old school Nirvana in the last few seconds of the song; with a cacophony of guitars and growling vocals.
'Come Around' is immediately slower, more introspective. This album has a definite old school, early 2000s vibe. The guitars are the leading instrument on this track, and the drums are merely hinted at in the background. In terms of lyricism, this track has a similar message to 'Not The Only One', about everyone's problems and demons, but it has an infinitely more positive message. A promise of being there when they're needed, and of knowing how difficult life can be but providing support. This is definitely the most pop inspired track on the record, and it's probably the song that would most likely be played on the radio.
The next track is 'Feel Like Home'. This sounds like Blink and All Time Low (circa Dirty Work), and even some Bowling For Soup. I have to say that I'm very confused by the sound of this album, sometimes it's rock, sometimes it's rock and hip hop, and sometimes it's punk and sometimes it's radio friendly pop. This isn't a criticism, like I thought it would be, I actually really enjoyed the throwback sounds. This song explores a relationship gone south, of a person that no longer feels like home. It's a bittersweet anthem of trying to find themselves and trying to find a new place to belong. This song is just a million types of fun. It was designed to listen to it when you're home alone and jamming out in your lazy clothes.
From 'Problems' onwards, the album seems to lose its steam. This can especially be seen on 'Top Of The World'. Lyrically, this song is interesting, it's just unfortunate that musically, it didn't seem to be up to speed with some of the more interesting songs that we've heard leading up to this track. A song all about staying within line (perhaps, I could even say, all about 'staying in your lane, boy'), and about the world's intolerance of difference. However, I hate to say that the song missed the mark. Lyrically, I found that it was a bit too general, and instead of being a great addition to the album, it lands on the pile of subpar songs that this record has.
This album should be a mess. It has influences from all across the board, and no real defining genre. It borrows shamelessly from other genres and bands, but strangely, it works. What elements are inspired from other artists, don't sound as though they've been stolen and Papa Roach have successfully managed to create an album that is both nostalgic and proves that bands don't necessarily need to have a sell by date, and can move with the times whilst still maintaining a sense of personality. However, though in terms of instrumentation, and musical composition, this album is definitely fun and there's all kinds of elements that work well. In terms of themes and lyricism, it's shapeless. I definitely admire what they were trying to do, and what they were attempting with the songs, but I'm sorry to say that it didn't quite hit the mark.