For me, Papa Roach is one of those bands. In other words, they bring it with each record and never seem to disappoint. I was introduced to them with The Paramour Sessions, but I became infatuated with them when they released F.E.A.R. Now, after listening to the singles released for Who Do You Trust?, my hope is waning a little, though I think they will continue to impress.
I did not count Time for Annihilation in my ranking. That album is half new songs and half live songs, in my opinion it is more like an EP with a few live songs on the end, rather than an actually album.
These albums were hard to rank objectively because Papa Roach has produced a diverse set of albums over their career. However, in the end, I was able to build this list with a tender combination of sweat and anxiety.
9) Old Friends From Young Years
Old Friend’s From Young Years is different from any of the other records Papa Roach has put out. I’m glad they changed their style, opting to include lyrics that are clearly understandable. One good thing about this record was its rawness. It is feels almost live. However, the lyrics are also hard to understand.
Even though this record boasts staples such as “Hollywood Whore” and “Lifeline” it is not one of Papa Roach’s best works. Mostly, this album feels lopsided and heavily front loaded. The first half of the album could qualify as singles, while the second half is slower and lacking a certain energy the band brings to even their slow tunes.
Despite this, the first six songs are great and fun. “Had Enough” is a moody ballad that urges for an end to violence while Jacoby Shaddix begs for help in “Lifeline”.
With their second record Papa Roach took a step away from the rap-rock arena. Instead, they embraced a throatier sound that was thick with riffs and attitude. This would become a blueprint for their sound in the coming years.This album is good, and a welcomed change, however it does not stand up to some of their later works.
The biggest sin this album stumbles on is the lack of diversity. All the songs are similar, which, even though the tracks fast and fun, it is kind of boring to listen to. That being said, there album has many songs that are great to listen to on their own, such as the title track and “Life is a Bullet”.
My personal favorite Papa Roach album lands kind of low on the list. Most of my infatuation with this record comes from nostalgia. Looking at F.E.A.R. objectively, I can see it suffers from the same problem as Lovehatetragedy; all of the tracks pretty much sound the same. That being said, this record has more electronic influences than Lovehatetragedy. It also has a guest vocalist. Maria Brink voice adds a wonderful layer to “Gravity”.
I enjoyed the entire album; however, “Gravity” is a must listen to. It is a groovy song where Jacoby raps and Maria Brink of In This Moment offers her unique vocals on a few phrases. “War Over Me” is another track to seek out.
5) Getting Away With Murder
For some reason, when I started working on this ranking, it occurred to me that Getting Away With Murder feels like “the-classic-Papa-Roach-album”. While I couldn’t pin down the precise reason, I am drawn to the album’s alluring blend of rock ‘n’ roll and punk grit. This sound works well for the band, even though they ditch it on their later records.
“Scars” is obviously one of the band’s most well known songs. This moody track employs bold honesty atop slow, crunching guitars. To this day, the opening chord unfolds whatever stress I happen to have stored inside at the time. The title track is another fun song that is easily a classic.
4) The Connection
Looking back at The Connection, it feels like the band wanted to be “relevant again”. It is littered with radio friendly songs that are fun, but not sparkling with the band’s patented attitude that shone brilliantly on Getting Away With Murder and The Paramour Sessions.
I was introduced to Papa Roach with The Paramour Sessions, but I didn’t listen to any of their other albums until The Connection dropped. “Where Did The Angels Go?” and “Still Swinging” blew me away. They were hard hitting, albeit contemporary radio, rock. After I bought the album I was confused by the seemingly random rap-rock songs on the disc. Why would a band make a record with so many radio friendly singles and bouncy lyrics and rap-solos, like on “Not That Beautiful”? In time, I would crave this diversity, but at first I didn’t understand it.
I’m going to catch a lot of flak for this but hear me out. Infest is a great album, but it is dated (even though rap-rock is a guilty pleasure of mine, it is certainly not popular) and more importantly, the band has never really embraced this sound again. They came back to it somewhat on Crooked Teeth, but they yet to write another “rap-rock” album. They moved on and evolved, snagging different elements and genres along the way to create their sound.
“Between Angels and Insects” is one of my favorite songs of all time. The lyrical content is perfect and pointed. Of course, “Last Resort” is a classic that pretty much speaks for itself. Beyond these, “Infest”, “Dead Cell” and “Broken Home” are good songs to search for, if you are interested in listening to older Papa Roach.
2) The Paramour Sessions
When I first listened to the opening of “…to Be Loved” I was riddled with a joy. It was an edgy brand of honesty layered over a thrilling beat. The rest of the album followed suit, not disappointing me. My favorite thing about this record is the mood; its grimy and real. The Paramour Sessions is a well-rounded disc. The album is a good collection of slow and fast songs, that hit a variety of emotional depths.
While the entire record is enjoyable, “Reckless” has always ranked high in my book. “Forever” is a dark song that remains popular. The opening tracks, “…to Be Loved” and “Alive (N’ out of Control)” show off the band’s youthful energy.
1) Crooked Teeth
Crooked Teeth was pitched as Papa Roach’s big return to their roots. While this album is undoubtedly involving some of the rap-rock elements of their break out album, it is thoroughly steeped in the aggressive, radio friendly sound that dominated their later albums. Naturally, this makes for a solid record that could arguable be “the-most-Papa-Roach” album the band has constructed.
Crooked Teeth only has a few “filler songs”, which, oddly enough, include the opening song. Beyond this, the album is dominated by songs that could stand on their own as singles. Literally most of the songs on the album could have been used as singles. In addition to crafting good songs, the band also used Machine Gun Kelly and Skylar Grey as guests on a couple of songs, adding different flavors to the band’s already unique style.