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papa roach

Papa Roach’s fourth release is proof positive that the band has not only put the pseudo-rap/rock days behind them, but firmly established them as a relevant rock act with the energy, song writing talents, and singing chops to be one of the premiere mainstream rock bands in the United States. The Paramour Sessions, named after the Paramour Mansion, builds upon the excellent Getting Away with Murder and continues the bands tradition of releasing better and better albums with each release.

The three times platinum Infest, the band’s breakout debut, and its radio-ready single “Last Resort“; solidified the band in the mainstream, but its hokey rapping and decidedly generic tracks didn’t lend themselves to anything more than cookie cutter rock bands attempting to step into the shoes of success created by Korn in the blending of rock and metal with rap.

The Paramour Sessions takes the new-found sound of the group, thankfully devoid of rapping from lead singer Jacoby Shaddix, and blends it with the angst influenced lyrics of the band’s sophomore release lovehatetragedy.

The album’s breakout hit “…to be loved“; is a welcome glimpse into what the rest of the CD offers with catchy riffs that further exemplify the band’s strive to become a more focused rock act. The album is the most lyrical collection that the band has put out with much more focused songs and the ability to flex some musical muscle seems to certainly suit the band.

A lot of early fans of Papa Roach have been increasingly outspoken about the new course of the band, for better or worse, but as a fan of music The Paramour Sessions is by far the strongest collection of tracks the band has released thus far in their career and the entire disc holds a top place on my iTunes collection in several playlists.

The disc is a worthy purchase of any fan of the band that hasn’t been turned off by the shift in musical style as well as any fan of hard rock in what could very well be one of the best and most solid rock releases of 2006.

Papa Roach publicly stated that they wanted the follow-up to their debut album, Infest, to have a much more mature tone, and on that point they rightfully succeeded. By creating a healthy mix of rock and rap-influenced-rock lead singer Jacoby Shaddix (formally Coby Dick) is able to sing more, and rap less, which, depending on your liking of Papa Roach’s music, is good or bad.

To those missing the hard-rock, rap-stunts aspect of Infest, you will find a much older band with much more melody. lovehatetragedy‘s first single, “She Loves Me Not,” is a pop-inspired romp through a troubled relationship which feels somewhat alienated on the CD. The real winning tracks come in the form of “Time and Time Again,” which has been recently featured in Pepsi Blue commercials, and the title track “lovehatetragedy.”

As a prerequisite for most bands in this day and age, Papa Roach decided to feature a cover track of the Pixies “Gouge Away.” As an example of the new emotional tone to Papa Roach, the song “Dark Clouds,” Jacoby proclaims:

“This is making me crazy / These black clouds following me / So I look for signs of light / But rarely I see them.”

You can see that things are much more organized, it almost feels as though the album was designed with a clear mind, instead of the disjointed Infest which stuck with a general tone, but featured ideas all over the place. With lovehatetragedy, things appear more concise with several ongoing themes present in each song including references to skin, depression, and love.

With a more emotional sound album, Papa Roach no longer becomes mixed in the shuffle of “hardcore bands” who scream, whim, and come off with a bad attitude. While the latest addition is not quite punk, it’s not quite nu-metal, and it’s not quite straight rock and roll, it does feature elements from all three of those genres and melds them together in a sometimes melody filled, sometimes beat filled rock session that brings Papa Roach to the surface of MTV wannabe’s and rejects. Not saying that Papa Roach is wanting to be on MTV, it just may be better to remove them from that mindset and let them creatively explore their music rather than think about what some inane VJ thinks.

As a follow-up to Infest, lovehatetragedy proves that the sophomore curse isn’t always as bad as some band’s make it out to be. Even with the more emotion filled music with may drive off longtime, hardcore Papa Roach fans, this CD proves that bands get better with age and maturity.