Eleven Seven Music
01 October 2012
by Tom Dare
Papa Roach no longer have any pretence about being a metal band. Everyone may have heard of them first time out through the nu metal angst of ‘Last Resort‘, but they’re nothing to do with that anymore – and haven’t been for bloody ages. Eighth album The Connection (yes, Papa Roach have been around long enough to make eight albums – how old do you feel now?) is overtly radio-friendly rock for mainstream consumption.
Take for example, the first ballad, ‘Wish You Never Met Me‘. It’s written with the obvious intention of melodies you’ll remember immediately. There’s no balls to it, it flirts with pop dance and it’s sickly sweet enough that it should come with a diabetic warning. It’s really very bad, and we should absolutely not stomach for this high-school-prom shit any longer. Thank fuck, then, that it’s far and away the worst song on the album.
There are two key reasons to why Papa Roach aren’t getting an unreserved caning here. First track proper ‘Still Swingin‘ is the first of five or six songs that – whether you want them to or not – stick in your head on first listen. Which is exactly what they’re supposed to do. Papa Roach songs are designed to worm into your memory quickly so when you see them live, you can sing along. And largely, The Connection does this with ease.
The other reason is the absolute absence of guile behind it. There’s no false veneer of profundity, no self-importance or pomposity, and that makes it much harder to be cynical about, and much more palatable than some we could name. This is party music. It’s Europe or Municipal Waste for a different demographic, and it knows it.
Watch the video to ‘Still Swingin’ by Papa Roach:
But yes, it goes wrong occasionally. The other ballad (‘Leader Of The Broken Hearts‘) sounds genuine enough, but is a little bit too nice, the self-righteous indignation of ‘Give Me Back My Life‘ needs a little bit more oomph to convince, and the last couple of tracks are a little forgettable. Yes, there’s lots you can mock: the clunky lyrical content, the fairly adolescent quality to some of the angst displayed by a band in their thirties, the flirtation with dubstep which will surely date quicker than unpasteurised milk, that promo shot at the top, and so on. But The Connection is still the kind of fun that not enough bands are capable of offering.
Sounds like: American radio rock that isn’t shit.
Stand-out tracks: Still Swingin, Silence Is The Enemy, Breathe You In.