Originally published in the Hindu Metroplus Bangalore edition on May 8th, 2013
Fall Out Boy – Save Rock and Roll
With a title like Save Rock and Roll, pop-punk chart-toppers Fall Out Boy are taking on a task too ambitious. But anything goes as long as it gets attention, and that’s something Fall Out Boy have believed all along. A lot of their previous hits sound ridiculously familiar to well-known songs in terms of melody. Coming back from a four-year hiatus that left none of the band members’ solo projects particularly successful, the reunited quartet kick things off with the catchy dance-rock ‘The Phoenix’, which clearly borrows its string section from rapper Plan B’s ‘Ill Manors’.
But there’s not so much to complain about on this album. Folie a Deux, their last album, packed in more riffs and rock elements, while this one sees the band plot more (currently) conventional, commercial electro pop features like anthemic sing alongs, modulated vocals and more synthesizers on songs like ‘My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light ‘em Up)’ and ‘Alone Together’. ‘Young Volcanoes’ sounds so pop you can already imagine it being played during a car advertisement.
Of course, what hasn’t changed with Fall Out Boy is vocalist Patrick Stump’s mischievous way with lyrics. You don’t know whether to cringe or laugh when he says he’s as high as a private jet and he’s going to “change you like a remix and erase you like a Phoenix.” They still love partying, singing about ex-girlfriends, current girlfriends, and other hot girls.
Unfortunately, Fall Out Boy go overboard partying, instead of taking some time out to also sing about funny things. They’ve previously sung about the Arms race and thought up hilarious song titles, but all that goes missing on Save Rock and Roll. Guest appearances include Foxes (on the carpe diem anthem ‘Just One Yesterday’), Big Sean (on the unnecessarily hip hop-pop punk mashup ‘The Mighty Fall’), Courtney Love (who promptly messes up the one good pop punk song ‘Rat A Tat’) and Elton John (who matches up to the band on piano and vocals on ‘Save Rock and Roll’).
There’s little doubt that Save Rock and Roll has all the elements of a chart-topping pop record, but the pop-punk faithful will be a tad bit disappointed to listen to Fall Out Boy turn more pop than punk.