10 Tasty Riffs – Papa Roach

Papa Roach

Welcome back, friends to Ten Tasty Riffs! This week, we focus on Papa Roach!

As we’ve all seen, the last few weeks have been some of the craziest we’ve seen in a long time, so to combat working at home for nearly two weeks, my household has been filled with two things: cats, and rock music.

With that in mind, this week’s Ten Tasty Riffs focuses on one of my all-time favorite ‘blast in the car bands’: Papa Roach! As far as guitarists go, founding member Jerry Horton has been with the band throughout their entire career and is directly responsible for some of nu-metal/rap-rock’s most memorable guitar moments as a result.

As always, this isn’t a ‘best of’ list, but instead a highlight of ten guitar riffs that I personally find a lot of fun to listen to.

#10 – ‘Ricochet’ (Bridge ‘Squealy’ Riff/Lead)

First up is a ‘mini-solo’, if you will. Guitar solo’s aren’t exactly something Papa Roach are known for (although if you haven’t heard ‘Into the Light’s wah pedal solo, or the slick bluesy guitar solo of ‘Sunrise Trailer Park’, you really should), and this certainly qualifies as more of a lead guitar riff than anything else. Regardless, what it is is a filthy squealy guitar lick that sounds kick ass. ‘Ricochet’ is a lot of fun, and this little lead section is the icing on the cake.

#9 – ‘Not Listening’ (Intro/Main Riff)

‘Not Listening’s main riff is a bouncy mix of octaves that instantly sticks in your head. I cannot tell you how immediately recognizable I find this song, and the introductory guitar riff is 100% responsible for that. Take this, a fantastic angsty chorus and some stellar Jacoby Shaddix screams and you have one of the best tracks of Getting Away With Murder.

#8 – ‘Never Enough’ (Big ‘meaty’ Intro Riff)

Disclaimer: I absolutely adore this song. I can’t help it. Jacoby Shaddix is killing it, Gran Turismo 3 was loving it, and the huge wall of Jerry Horton guitar distortion that introduces this song is exactly what it needed. Truth be told, I could probably pick any riff from this song just to include it in this list, but I’m always blown away by the intro.

#7 – ‘Not the Only One’ (‘Thick’ Chorus Riff)

I think a lot of fans were a little unsure of what to make of Who Do You Trust?, and to be honest that’s perfectly okay. Following a band through ten studio albums will inevitably cause some moments to shine more than others, and with every new release a band that chooses to evolve will always give a few fans misgivings. That being said, ‘Not the Only One’s thick, bass-heavy guitar riff has always been one of the best moments of Who Do You Trust? It really gives the chorus the punch it needed, and sounds amazing in a live setting.

#6 – ‘Where Did the Angels Go’ (Intro/Main Riff)

This one needs no explanation. It’s a huge, heavy riff and another that is instantly recognizable. A fine cut of chuggy distortion, Mr Horton.

#5 – ‘Still Swinging’ (Intro/Main Riff)

Another cut from The Connection, ‘Still Swinging’s main guitar riff has this sweet little rolling scale run that makes this one so much fun. Seriously, the mix of power chords, octaves and that little scale run is what makes this song so memorable to me. Sure, I’m enjoying everything else in the room, but sometimes you have to appreciate the finer moments in life.

#4 – ‘Last Resort’ (THE Riff)

Do I really need to go into detail with this one? I’m pretty sure every nu-metal fan of the last two decades knows this guitar riff. It’s basically up there with the quintessential nu-metal guitar riffs of the early 2000s, and we were all perfectly okay with it. To ‘Last Resort’, we salute you.

#3 – ‘Getting Away With Murder’ (Octave/Main Riff)

I feel like a broken record. When I say it needs ‘little’ or ‘no’ explanation I feel like I’m copping out of the purpose of this damn list, but honestly who doesn’t know this guitar riff? Okay, fine. ‘Getting Away With Murder’s guitar riff is an exercise in taking a very simple technique, combining it with melody, and ending up with something really special. It sounds… menacing, which entirely befits the song’s title. Now, please excuse me. I must go play this loudly in the car and sing myself hoarse.

#2 – ‘None of the Above’ (‘Chuggy’ Main Riff)

This is one that really grew on me over time. Crooked Teeth has a lot of great moments, but I often found myself gravitating toward a lot of the more obvious cuts and seemingly ignoring ‘None of the Above’. But, that riff… it’s got such a cocky swagger to it, almost as if it could reach through your speakers and punch you square in the face.

#1 – ‘I Almost Told You That I Loved You’ (‘Twangy’ Lead Riff)

Speaking of cocky, that pretty much sums up the entirety of this song. The main guitar lick of ‘I Almost Told You That I Loved You’ just oozes the kind of attitude that makes southern rock music so much fun. That’s not to say it sounds southern rock – not at all – but I absolutely adore this song, and this guitar riff is eternally embedded in my head as a result.


Okay, I felt a little guilty not having riffs from every Papa Roach album. To be honest, there are too many. I could probably easily make three of these lists and still have more to choose from.


Until the day comes that I run out of bands to happily rant and rave over, I’m going to have a little bonus round and quickly go over three more riffs that are worth your time. I may still not be covering every Papa Roach album, but we’re at least a little closer.

#1: ‘No More Secrets’ (‘Bouncy’ Lead) – A cool little guitar lead that paves the way for one of The Paramour Sessions’ most entertaining entries. What goes around comes around, baby.
#2: ‘Life Is a Bullet’ (Distortion-heavy Dissonant Lead) – There’s this short section around the 2:23 mark that really hits the spot in terms of raw dissonance. It’s essentially a wall of distortion with a few arpeggios thrown in there, but goddamn does it sound exquisite.
#3: ‘Fear Hate Love’ (Intro/Main Riff) – This riff is just kickass. Honestly, that’s really all I’ve got to say. It kicks down your door and wants your lunch money, what else do you want from me.

And… that’s it from me. I’ve had a lot of fun mindlessly talking about a band that has been a huge part of my life since my earliest introduction to music, but as always: what are some of your favorite Papa Roach guitar riffs?

There are plenty to choose from!

Want more Tasty Riffs? Check out the archive.

About the author

M. Stoneman

"If you combine horror movies, rock music and Silent Hill, I'm the result: a British writer who will likely gush over guitar solos and ambient horror game soundtracks.”
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