Given their emo-pop influences and powerhouse female vocals, it's hard not to draw parallels between Hey Monday and Paramore. Cassadee Pope serves as the band's centerpiece, howling lovelorn lyrics with all the marketable grit of Hayley Williams while her bandmates pummel through power chords and group singalongs. Paramore's platinum-selling Riot! incorporated elements of hard rock, though, while Hey Monday go for a sweeter approach with their own album, which takes its sustenance from bubblegum pop melodies and well-scrubbed guitar riffs. Hold on Tight also benefits from the presence of S*A*M & Sluggo, the veteran production team that scored hit singles with Cobra Starship's "Snakes on a Plane" and Metro Station's "Shake It." Writing in tandem with those producers (as well as guest collaborators Butch Walker and William Beckett), Hey Monday come up with a number of radio-geared pop anthems: "Homecoming," whose guitar intro borrows from "Hazy Shade of Winter";" "Set Off," an us-against-the-world dose of adrenaline; and "How You Love Me Now," the sort of sonic guilty pleasure that inspires teens to roll down their car windows and crank the stereo. There's certainly some filler here, particularly toward the album's conclusion, but Hold on Tight is still stacked with enough T.G.I.F. nuggets to make it an engaging debut.
AllMusic Review by Andrew Leahey