Thursday, February 26, 2015

American Beauty / American Psycho - Fall Out Boy

Fall Out Boy has had quite a curious career. Rising rapidly to stardom in the mid 2000's, slowly fading away with a well publicized hiatus, recording a comeback album in secret and exploding back onto the scene with Save Rock and Roll, and now this; American Beauty / American Psycho. The follow up to a dramatic change in sound succeeds in cementing the new pop-oriented aspect of FOB, but without destroying their integrity as artists. They figured out how to be culturally relevant without selling out. It's quite the feat in this day and age. And I know people will argue that they did sell out and they've changed and "I want the old FOB back, true fans will agree". It's quite obnoxious, hearing that not only about FOB but the multitude of bands who mature as people and surprise surprise: their sound changes as well. It's the natural progression of bands. They have to move forward, otherwise to be stagnant is to fade away and die. Fall Out Boy understands this, and thus you have AB/AP.

The 11 track album moves even farther from their days of "Sugar, We're Goin Down" and "Dance, Dance". Drum tracks, synths, and even vocal effects are found throughout. The majority of these tunes are much more pop influenced and radio ready, moving away from the hip-hop tone that was prevalent on SR&R. Songs like "The Kids Aren't Alright" and "Fourth Of July" utilize pop norms aspects to make them feel ready to blast in a car ride, as well as the already heavily played "Centuries". "The Kids Aren't Alright" plays out like a ballad, while "Fourth of July" plays on a clever idea of two lovers being like fireworks "that went off too soon" to paint a catchy, yet tragic love story. Songs such as "Uma Thurman", "Irresistible", and the title track run in a similar vein in terms of radio readiness, but utilize quirks to make them unique. "Uma Thurman" samples The Munsters theme song as well as referencing Pulp Fiction to keep things interesting. "Irresistible" mixes a horn line with hip-hop drum tracks to make your next pump-up jam. "American Beauty/American Psycho" goes off into its own genre, delving into futuristic sounding hyper-rock that gets you on your feet and on edge, something quite unexpected yet quite welcome. The entire album is full of unique aspects, from the Nightmare Before Christmas-tone in the low "na na's" found in "Novocaine" to the Indian synth/guitar parts of "Immortals", which also made its way into the soundtrack for Big Hero 6.

What I'm trying to get at is that Fall Out Boy is experimenting. They're trying new things constantly, and they aren't slowing down anytime soon. They have discovered an aspect of music making that they love, and that's the kind of passion that doesn't go out because people don't like what they hear.

Rating - 4.5/5
Recommended - Fourth Of July, Irresistible, American Beauty/American Psycho