Down And Out & Paramore's 'Riot!' Artwork | Credit: Supplied

Love Letter To A Record: Down And Out’s Luke Ganeo On Paramore’s ‘Riot!’

Music Feeds’ Love Letter to a Record series asks artists to reflect on their relationship with the music they love and share stories about how it has influenced their lives. Herefrontman Luke Ganeo of Adelaide pop-punk band Down And Out sings the praises of Paramore‘s second solo album, ‘Riot!’ (2007) ahead of the scene icons’ 2023 Australian arena tour.

Down And Out have just unveiled their latest single ‘Lost [In Exposure]’ – an angsty pop-punk anthem produced and mixed by ARIA-Nominated producer Stevie Knight (Stand Atlantic, Yours Truly) and featuring guest vocals by RedHook‘s Emmy Mack and some shred-tastic guitar work by Stand Atlantic‘s David Potter. Lyrically, the track explores Luke’s vital relationship with music. As the frontman explains in a press statement: “Playing music, no matter how poor I am, no matter how little sleep I get, no matter how difficult and taxing it is, is the only thing that will ever truly make me feel alive and fulfilled. I always thought music was something I wanted to do, but once I put it on the back burner I realised it’s something I have to do.”

Down And Out’s Love Letter To Paramore’s Riot!

So, this for me, like most people, I’d assume, was incredibly hard because there are so many albums that I absolutely love that it was incredibly hard to pick just one to write about. 

I reckon I’m going to go with Riot! by Paramore. Firstly, who doesn’t love this album, it’s probably a perfect album. I listened to this album so much in high school and it practically became the soundtrack to several years of my high school life. While All Time Low were the first band to get me into pop/punk, Paramore really hooked me in with Riot! At the time I was primarily a drummer, and I LOVED the drumming on Riot! I would play it through on the drums constantly, probably almost every day for a couple of years, churning through cymbals like I was a millionaire (I’m sure all the drummers out there will resonate with that one). 

But more than that, the songs were so masterfully and beautifully written; they had so much simplicity and complexity at the same time, but also so much passion and heart. For years, this has been the album that I refer to as THE standard for songwriting. Although I don’t think I have, or probably ever will, create something as beautiful as Riot! striving to do so gets me closer than I otherwise would be able to. 

When I was in high school, I listened to Riot! when I was at home, in class, driving, riding my bike, walking, hanging out with friends, going through breakups, anything and everything. This album was always there with a song perfect for whatever I was going through. Of course, most of the time the song probably had nothing to do with whatever was going on for me and I was just projecting my own meaning onto it, but that’s what art is for, in my opinion.

I felt weird as a teenager, I don’t think I’m unique at all in that regard, in fact, I think it’s unique if you don’t feel weird as a teenager! It’s a time for trying things and figuring out who you are and who you want to be. Paramore and Riot! helped me with that. I’d obviously enjoyed a lot of music before, but there was never really anything that struck such a chord (see what I did there? I hate myself) with me before! This album helped give me something to guide me through those weird and uncomfortable years, kind of like a lighthouse in the middle of the ocean. 

I think almost everyone has an album or an artist like this, or maybe for some people it’s not even something musical, maybe they have a favourite painter or athlete or dancer or whatever! But the point is that all of these things, when you really get to the core of what they are, are forms of artistic expression. People have always and will always find ways to express themselves and their experiences and when those forms of expression resonate with other people and give them something that causes them to feel as though they relate to others, that’s something magical. And that, for me, is what Riot! is.

Further Reading

Paramore Add More Shows To 2023 Australian Tour

Watch Paramore’s Hayley Williams Sing ‘My Hero’ With Foo Fighters at Bonnaroo

Fall Out Boy and Hayley Williams to Feature on Taylor Swift’s ‘Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)’

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