There’s always been something special about Fall Out Boy.
From the debut Take This To Your Grave, to the last release Folie a Deux, Fall Out Boy have always been the exception in a constantly changing landscape of popular music.
Characterized by lyrics often considered more clever than the average top-40 band, and with a wide selection of musical influences, Fall Out Boy have always had a particular recipe to the sound of their music.
Pre-Save Rock and Roll, I think that a large part of their musical process could have simply been referred to as ‘The Pete and Patrick Show.’ With SRNR, it’s interesting to hear how much that balance has shifted.
Although Pete is still credited as writing a majority of the lyrics, and Patrick did have a big hand in production, the sound is more influenced by Andy and Joe than ever before. For maybe the first time ever, FOB has finally released a record as a cohesive four piece unit, and… it’s totally awesome.
And better yet, from a musical perspective, everyone has matured a great amount since FOB’s last release.
Patrick Stump’s voice has matured, and somehow not only sounds stronger, but also has a fuller range. This is also the first album that really showcases Joe Trohman’s talent on the guitar (Death Valley), and Andy Hurley’s incredible drumming skills. Pete Wentz even learned how to play his bass, finally, and you can clearly hear him doing his thing on Where Did The Party Go (which is also reminiscent of the bands first mainstream hit, Dance, Dance.)
During the post-Folie a Deux break, Patrick released his solo disc Soul Punk. At the same time, Pete was toying around with the DJ-driven Black Cards, while Joe and Andy paired up for metal outfit The Damned Things. And while it certainly may seem like this information is no more than the last dregs of a pop culture junkie, it’s incredibly important to SRNR as a record.
In a track-by-track listen of the album, you can clearly hear influences from each of those side-projects coming together to form what is the new Fall Out Boy.
Fall Out Boy, as they currently are, are no longer laden with obsessive lyrics dripping in melancholy or regret. I may be in the minority of FOB fans here, but I like the change. How genuine would a group of married, approaching middle-aged men be if they were still singing about break-ups and the toxic relationships that caused them?
The standout tracks on this album are (in chronological order): The Phoenix, Just One Yesterday (feat. Foxes), Death Valley, Rat-a-Tat (feat. Courtney Love) and the title closer track, Save Rock and Roll (feat. Elton John).
I also have a soft spot for Alone Together and Miss Missing You, as they seem to be the closest in sound to the Fall Out Boy we knew — each song features slightly disjointed bass, and clever, rhythm driven lyrics.
One great moment for me on this album comes in the first few moments of Save Rock and Roll. The song, as noted above, features Elton John, and showcases some of the band’s most heartfelt lyrics. What struck me most about this track, was their use of sampling Chicago Is So Two Years Ago, which was a song on their first major label release. It is, in a way, the final salute to fans who fought for a Take This To Your Grave, Part II.
Overall, I think that this is an album that you can enjoy regardless of previously being a Fall Out Boy fan, or not. In fact, if you have never previously gotten into the band, why not give it a listen?
I promise it probably is not what you’re expecting.
STRONGEST TRACK: Death Valley
WEAKEST TRACK: Where Did The Party Go
OVERALL RATING: 4.5/5