Review Summary: Fall Out Boy delve further into their new crappy-pop sound
Fall Out Boy are one of those bands that you often find have people divided right down the center. You either love them, or you hate them with a passion. It is rare to find someone on the fence about them. Save Rock & Roll was a truly terrible album, pandering to the mainstream pop genre, by throwing away the punk. Nevertheless, the album was a commercial success, Phoenix was blasting out of every scene kids headphones for months on end. For the rest of us, we felt betrayed. Fall Out Boy had fallen out of the rock scene, and landed in the realms of Big Sean. It was almost as if something in the world of pop punk had died...
Then we finally got it, American Beauty / American Psycho. And was it redeeming?
Not really. It's more of the same. This album can be summed up as "Save Rock & Roll with a little more guitar, and a little less guest artists". The structure of the songs are exactly the same as on Save Rock & Roll, basic and boring. Patrick Stump has quite an impressive vocal range, and yet, he never uses this talent. For the majority of the album, his vocals remain high pitched and whiny. Most of the lyrics can be boiled down to "oh oh oh"'s. This is becoming a staple for this genre of pop-rock. However, some bands can use it creatively (Panic! At the Disco), but Fall Out Boy seem to use it purely as filler.
The lyrical content of AB / AP is uninspired. Its like Pete used an online lyric generator. The songs are all, in typical Fall Out Boy fashion, about relationships. Most bands seem to be able to grow out of this teenage slump, but Fall Out Boy seem to be using it over and over. It would be interesting for Fall Out Boy to tackle social corruption, or politics in their music, maybe even create an American Idiot-ish themed album.
The melodies on this album are *yawn* more of the same. However, whereas on Save Rock & Roll the guitars were hardly distinguishable, and basically not there, AB / AP actually has some distinguishable guitar work. This is most prominent on the albums closing track "Twin Skeleton's", arguably the best song on the album. The song is nothing special, it breaks no new grounds, but for Fall Out Boy it was a breathe of fresh air, to hear that familiar punk rock element.
Now, with all this said, there are some good moments. Immortals is horribly generic, but definitely a pearl among the turds. It's catchy, lyrically its nothing new, but it has a melody that you will find stuck in your head for days. Twin Skeleton's (as mentioned before) is probably the albums true highlight. It's easily the most rock orientated song on the record, and doesn't use a conventional song structure. The only drawback is Patrick's ear piercing high notes during the bridge.
Die-Hard Fall Out Boy fans will probably lap this up, but for anyone who misses old-school Fall Out Boy should avoid this should it disappoint them further.