Does anyone feel like Papa Roach kind of dropped off the map after their amazingly strong 2004 album Getting Away With Murder? I mean, it’s not like they didn’t continue putting out music because two albums past before their newest release F.E.A.R. (Face Everything And Rise). However, those albums can easily be forgotten because F.E.A.R. definitely has the potential to bring them back to their former mid-00s glory that we still look back on to this very day.
The entirety of F.E.A.R. has the obvious classic Papa Roach characteristics that got us to fall in love with them, but there are slight modern elements that seem similar to bands like A Day To Remember (opening track “Face Everything And Rise”), Daughtry (“Love Me Till It Hurts”) and Dirty Heads (“Gravity”). A couple of pseudo-love songs here (“Love Me Till It Hurts,” “Broken As Me,” “Falling Apart”), a handful of self-realization tracks there (“War Over Me,” “Skeletons,” “Devil”), and using the theme of positive self-empowerment (“Face Everything And Rise” and closer “Warriors”), the album will puts listeners on a roller coaster of mixed emotions that also get you thinking about some aspects of your own life.
Out of F.E.A.R.‘s entire track list, three songs truly stand out against the rest because they are eerily relatable to any listener whether you want to admit it or not. “Skeletons” is a heavy and gritty track that consists of absolutely beautiful lyrics that make your heart feel the emotion dripping from Jacoby Shaddix’s vocals. It describes how we hide our true selves until we feel that the person trying to get to know us is worthy of breaking through our walls (“brick by brick I’ve built this wall/I shut you out to break the fall”). It’s also got a surprisingly religious vibe to it with lines like “I’m crawling to you/to confess my intentions” and can double as a story of turning to God after being a complete and total screw-up.
“Broken As Me” is a very Three Days Grace-esque track filled with melodic and aggravated screams to bring to life a story of two lovers who are completely wrong for each other but are willing to try and fix something broken. Many times this dysfunctional relationship is mentioned in lines like “disaster is our master/as we lay here burning in bed” and “you just can’t decide/if the vicious way we love each other/fucked up our lives,” but in the end they’ll stick by each other because they’re very much two broken peas in a pod.
The track that really shined through was the closest thing to a ballad the album has, “Never Have To Say Goodbye.” In the easiest explanation, the listener can hear the characteristics of a eulogy. But if you dig deeper it can be heard as a praising track for the functioning relationship that just didn’t work out, which is showcased in phrases like “I was running out of love/you didn’t walk out/you didn’t give up on me” and “you always loved me when I couldn’t even love myself/no, you never turned away when I was begging for help.” Ultimately, Shaddix knew he “should’ve said thanks/for never giving up” and uses “Never Have To Say Goodbye” as his way of showing just how much of a positive impact the other person had on him and can be applied to any type of relationship.
F.E.A.R. absolutely has all the makings that made them a strong rock band in their prime and reassures longtime fans that Papa Roach isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Of course they had to modernize themselves a smidgen, but not so much where we’re not even sure who the band is anymore. There’s no doubt in my mind that it will not only appeal to their hardcore fans, but will also recruit some new ones along the way.