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Album Reviews : Papa Roach – Crooked Teeth

By on June 22, 2017

Papa Roach is a hidden gem among the nu metal fans of the 2000s. The industry knows they’re still around and doing well, the scene occasionally knows. But anyone who made a YouTube video of themselves playing CounterStrike in 2006 to Last Resort has no idea Papa Roach are still kicking.

24 years, nine albums, three ex-members, two Grammy nominations and 20 million record sales after Papa Roach formed, how does 2017’s Crooked Teeth sound?

It actually has its moments. It starts with a violin and some low-fi effects, a little build-up. Then a middle aged man starts rapping. The hard rock begins about 58 seconds in. Jesus Christ, it’s true. Nu metal never went away.

Every track has a different mood, which is unique for an iconic band who have found a sound that sells. First track Break the Fall could’ve been made 15 years ago, but it also has element of hardcore acts like Bring Me the Horizon and Of Mice & Men. Crooked Teeth is closer to early Paramore, continuing Papa Roach’s trend of putting their more ordinary, by-the-numbers tracks centre stage. Their big numbers this decade have been so inoffensive they offend me. There’s a nice meaty oomph in the guitars, but Crooked Teeth also has a gangsta beat. If white suburban rap is your thing, fine, you do you. Juggalos are an official gang now. But hearing it in metal makes me nervous.

Born for Greatness is an optimistic pop anthem straight from the end of a Pixar movie. This isn’t the Papa Roach we know. They do it well, but it feels like that friend who impersonates that thing he hates too perfectly.

Periscope is a deep track that gives you the slow euphoria of being underwater and wait, that’s Skylar Grey on guest vocals. Grey has appeared on approximately every rap album released since her birth in 1986. She probably doesn’t survive on sleep or food anymore, just phone calls from Eminem’s manager.

Traumatic is a nice, filthy callback to their early stuff. This is probably why you’re listening to Papa Roach. This track is the band you remember. Sunrise Trailer Park features autobiographical rap by Machine Gun Kelly, a formerly homeless actor who gives this album genuine angst and storytelling. The chorus, “I’m still haunted by the best years of my life” is, well, haunting. Then there’s a vinyl scratch, which is like having a heart-to-heart with your best friend and then sharting yourself.

All in all it’s a fun album, even if it can’t hold a torch (because your parents won’t let you handle a flame) to most of the metal on this site. It’s Papa Roach. It’s okay music that sometimes makes you feel, even if they endearingly jar the moment by being too poppy. If the noughties had a god it would be this band, and its priests would wear dreadlocks and baggy jeans. When Snoop Dogg signed up on Reddit he probably entered Papa Roach as his username, said “Aww shit man, it’s already taken” and went with Daddy Blunt instead. Their band name is nu metal in two words. Papa Roach could only be a suburban guy wailing out riffs and rapping about how he’s at low-to-medium risk of self harming.

Here’s the lesson: always give Papa Roach a chance. Each album will have at least a couple nostalgic gems. Since they stray deeper into the abyss of mainstream pop whenever they evolve, nostalgia is what makes them special. They’ve been around for 24 years. Like the bug in their name, Papa Roach will still be here for us no matter what nuclear horrors we put society through this century.

Band: Papa Roach
Crooked Teeth
Hard Rock
Eleven Seven Music