Broadside - Paradise

Review by Shannon Shumaker

Every few years, a band comes along that breathes a new life into the pop-punk genre and with their new album, Paradise Broadside is quickly becoming that band in 2017. The band’s second studio album finds them at their best lyrically, vocally and sonically. There are no boundaries on Paradise, which arrives just in time for summer, and the result is something that will have you singing along with at the top of your lungs one second before pulling at your heartstrings the next. 

Right off the bat, Broadside begin testing the waters and pushing the boundaries of their pop-punk sound on opening track, “Hidden Colors.” The keyboard elements on the first track might feel a little unexpected at first, but the fact of the matter is, they’re trying something different. In a genre that can easily become stagnant thanks to similar songwriting patterns and sounds, Broadside are certainly going to stand out with this release. And vocally, “Hidden Colors” is flawless. It’s a breath of fresh air before the band really dives into these eleven songs.

The first three songs on Paradise flow with ease, quickly establishing a sound that will become the soundtrack to your summer. These songs feel fresh and new but definitely reminiscent of early 2000’s pop-punk - a perfect balance between the two. The second song and title track will make you want to dance and sing along. Lyrically, “Paradise” is bright and hopeful, establishing the album's theme about following your dreams and finding your own paradise. The following “Lose Your Way” is definitely more guitar driven, but it hits home lyrically as well, urging listeners to push through obstacles to achieve their goals.

It’s at this point on Paradise that the lyrical content really begins to shine. Fourth song, “Disconnect” is extremely relevant, discussing the overuse of social media - although it is meant to connect us, it actually does the opposite. The line, “When’s the last time you felt alive?” is meant to be a wakeup call. Then comes one of the most powerful songs on the album, “Laps Around A Picture Frame.” Vocally, this track takes a step away from the songs before it with a more pop and R&B influenced sound and lyrically, it’s raw, giving listeners a first person account of what it’s like to live with anxiety.

Following “Laps Around A Picture Frame,” “Who Cares” and “Tunnel Vision” pick up the pace once more, and quickly, Broadside are able to showcase their ability to shine no matter the tone or lyrical content of a song. Right after a very heavy song like “Laps Around A Picture Frame,” they’re able to provide fans with two high energy, carefree tracks and still shine. The following acoustic track, “Summer Stained” hits hard lyrically once more. Although the spoken word part near the end of the track comes off as a little cheesy, it’s also something that a lot of listeners will be able to connect with. Then, just when you think you’ve seen every side of Broadside on this release already, they blindside you with the incredibly political track, “Puzzle Pieces” before things come to a close with the stripped down, “I Love You I Love You It’s Disgusting.”

Within the eleven songs on Paradise, Broadside are able to explore countless sonic and lyrical journeys, providing fans with an incredibly dynamic listening experience. Although pop-punk can tend to become stagnant, Broadside never fall into those typical songwriting patterns on this album, constantly pushing boundaries and creating their own sound. Even if certain elements might not work quite as well as they intended at times, they're still trying something new and it will definitely stand out within the genre. Broadside are wearing their hearts on their sleeves as they reinvent the wheel, and the result is something that will not only shake things up, but also withstand the test of time.

LISTEN TO: "Laps Around A Picture Frame" or "Paradise"