Review Summary: Fall Out Boy shoot for the moon and wind up among... Big Sean, Elton John and... Courtney Love?
I think if there's one band situated largely beneath the spotlight that understands its audience more than any other, it's no stretch of the mind to recognize it'd be Fall Out Boy. I mean, and just cutting to the chase here, this is not your middle school FOB sitting comfortably, mind you, in the big 2K13, and considering their extreme shift in sound heard now as compared to 2005, remember that year? Syria left Lebanon that year, big stuff, anyway, this band had the guts to trust their fans would accept what they had to sing about under cork trees, arguably 'thee' noted shift that's led to this gorgeous evolution of one of pop's classiest groups; with all that being said, this is the most necessary
step for a group of this caliber to take as they bravely push boundaries again.
Now, the pieces are certainly available here to admit this release as a complete failure. Yes, we could start with its lofty name Save Rock and Roll
and obvious irony that nearly hurts; kind of the same way Congress recently ruined the US sequestering things, and then ironically ruining Congress's highly valued spring break in turn really
ruining the US, that kind of hilarious irony. (Side note: it hurts). Then there's that album cover that scarily compliments the pain so well. This fast and loose formula brewed bewilderment early on, but there are few in this world, at least, dear God I hope so, that look to Fall Out Boy for substance. Simply because the only substance you're getting from an album titled Save Rock and Roll
delivered by a (once respected) pop/punk band with a song called "I'm Like A Lawyer With the Way I'm Always Trying To Get You Off" in their discography is usually only wit baked in cocaine cupcakes sitting nonchalantly next to a phone engaged in a sexting convo. And if that's your thing, like it is mine, then boys and girls ready yourselves because FOB deliver the goods in a big way. (Some subtext there, maybe.)
This albums entire creation, including the hiatus that pre-engaged this emergence of a new branded Fall Out Boy is something of a minimal wonder. So it's no shock the confusion that's stemmed from fans and critics alike. However, this dissension has grown from a refusal to acknowledge this album as the natural step in these guys' careers. But there's a reason I said this was a necessary move initially and not natural. Let me be absolutely clear: this is the same band whose soul dwells in the arena of huge hooks that are so sharp in tongue MTV has Teen Mom producers posted outside each of their concerts. Today's Fall Out Boy are so comfortable with music trends, evidenced by the insatiable one-two punch opener, "The Phoenix" –strings, synth and all, and "My Songs Know What You Did In the Dark" -Prince passion, passion pits and all, each blowing this house of an album down immediately out the gates. In short, it's a blessing to have this group making music again.
There is a level of maturity present here that only a band given a chance to smell the coffee could display. I'm not speaking with transparent ageism ideals in mind regarding this maturation. I'm talking about eleven goddamn
dance anthems that are pure fiiiiiiyah
. Save Rock and Roll
is "Thnks Fr Th Mmrs" turned past ten with the knob ripped clean off. The jive ballad of "Just One Yesterday" bears witness to the intelligent design of this bands adaptability, spouting more soul than a fun. bar brawl, this song serves as the centerpiece for the album because it holds all of its strongest traits. From its sly electronic incorporation to a sexy duet with Foxes amplifying their majestic prowess before exploding into one of the finest choruses given this year. A stunning example of how Fall Out Boy blend their penchant for anthems against a startling new vulnerability, which most of Save...
resembles - just listen to that outro.
Coincidentally that vulnerability is strained, effectively I might add, between the discs two, strange, foreign contributors. Big Sean tries his damnedest to not sound like a last minute Kanye West replacement shooting senseless rhymes filled to the brim with innuendo which ultimately snubs the basstastic "Mighty Fall"; and Courtney Love is on a song called "Rat-A-Tat" so take that as you would before I wrote this sentence, no matter how groovy the chorus kicks nothing can save this mess of a song. I could sit here for a few minutes suggesting both songs removal, but damn, it actually bolsters Fall Out Boys knack for making the catchiest shi
t around. On the same plane is "Alone Together”, but these “bad” songs in scope are anything but forgettable. Keep that in mind. Speaking of unforgettable…
Elton John graces his presence on the effort to save rock and roll. This is the biggest testament for this albums existence, as well as its validity. Despite the big time hooks, and I’m saying – “Where Did the Party Go? Is huge
, but beyond that superficial quality sits this icon helping sing the most ridiculous sentiment to be uttered by a pop band, of this magnitude, this decade. It’s arguably the only daring song on an album that has brostep serving as Courtney Love’s backdrop. There’s that surprising “Fu
ck you!” Patrick Stump convincingly addresses, but it’s all in the direction the title track takes after that moment. Boisterous harmonization, chants of “…we don’t know when to quit, oh no”, humorously coming in long after the song’s potentially acceptable limit and the outrageousness of it all sort of solidifies the message in the very, very end. You have to think, isn’t this the same band that demanded we dance, dance? The same one that blasted infamy's greatness over fame? Maybe it’s because Fall Out Boy are doing Fall Out Boy better in 2013 than 2005, when rock mattered a little more and pop was lead by Kelly Clarkson. Shift the spectrum and you’ll see that this isn’t an attempt to revitalize anything, just a ceremony for rocks near forgotten luster.