Papa Roach is synonymous with Last Resort, their major hit off their debut album Infest. With their newest album, The Connection, they come out with the ferocity that this is their last resort. They push the envelope to new areas with electronic add-ins while revisiting the past they’ve long forgotten with raps & flows reminiscent of Between Angels And Insects. With their first single off The Connection aptly titled Still Swingin’, they’re letting the world know they’re not going down without a fight. This album is their long awaited knockout punch!
From the first song, Papa Roach lets the listener know there’s something different about this album. Lead singer Jacoby Shaddix opens Still Swingin’ with a tasteful flow that fits the song perfectly. They follow that with a bridge and chorus that lets him open up singing over heavily driven guitars thanks to Jerry Horton and his Seymour Duncan-loaded Schecters. They add an electronic feel by layering it with the guitars and drums in the background, predominantly on the verse. You also notice the electronic enhancements on Jacoby’s vocals in the bridge and ending verse. Let me be clear though, Papa Roach has not gone soft or electronica. Again, they enhanced their sound with the additional effects giving it a more pop-industrial feel. Yes, I get that those two genres seem opposing, but they somehow fuse them together to create a unique blend.
Another highlight is “Where Did The Angels Go”, which addresses my point above about them not going soft. In my opinion, this is one of their heaviest, hardest songs to date with thick, off-beat metal riffs. The chorus still has the singing pop-rock flavor that Papa Roach is known for, which will keep long-time fans happy, but the intro and bridges offer something that new fans can get behind. Me personally being a long-time listener really likes what this song shows and wish they’d move the band in this direction. However, it’s very unlikely since they’ve crafted their sound around a more pop-rock influence and would probably turn off a larger portion of their loyal fanbase. Either way, it’s a great song that shows a much darker, heavier side of Papa Roach.
A bright light on this album is the song “Won’t Let Up.” It just flows so well and has a good vibe. The chorus is driven and powerful, which conveys an attitude of never giving up. The music on this song seems so intertwined with the lyrical content and its relevance to the current times in regards to the down economy and life in general. The verses are very chill, talking about how the world is falling apart but you just need to keep your head up. The chorus builds into heavy powerchords, talking about how you need to lose and leave everything to realize what really matters in life. It offers encouragement in that you’re not the only one going through it. Keep looking forward because “it only gets worse if you’re living in the past.” They still believe in you! In times like this, we need more powerful music with deeper meaning. I’m glad to see Papa Roach didn’t take that responsibilty lightly and delivered such an important song.
The Connection builds off the decade or so Papa Roach has existed and yet moves them in a new direction. If you haven’t listened to Papa Roach since Infest, check them out because they’re back. Yes, slightly refined and more polished than when they first came out, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. They’ve also cutback on the love/hate ballads that the Lovehatetragedy and Getting Away With Murder albums were dominated by. The video for “Still Swingin’” shows a modern day zombie infested New York, which is a refreshing twist for Papa Roach. All in all, give this album a listen. I don’t think you’ll regret it.