Chicago is so twelve years ago. Let’s take a quick trip back to 2003 when the “Emo” subgenre of punk music was alive and well, and Fall Out Boy just released their debut album Take This To Your Grave. About thirty minutes away from where I grew up, Fall Out Boy was making a name from themselves in the greater Chicago area. They would eventually sign on to the Warped Tour while “Saturday” was getting some major air time on local radio stations. And the rest is history.
Twelve years later, Fall Out Boy has survived one breakup, five album releases, and the complete evaporation of their “Emo” music scene while continuing to top the charts as of recent. Riding off the success of 2013’s Save Rock and Roll, Fall Out Boy is continuing to reinvent themselves with this year’s new release American Beauty / American Psycho. In an interview with Billboard, Pete Wentz (Fall Out Boy’s posterboy) described this album as “A hip/hop album with rock influences.” While I don’t quite agree with that description, I do agree that this is truly a new Fall Out Boy.
American Beauty / American Psycho showcases just how dynamic this band can be. Fall Out Boy returns with the same polished rock approach as the last release, but with new sounds and sampling. Alongside Stump’s vocals are sounds of Asian influence and robotic recordings. To be able to successfully sample The Munsters (a 60’s TV show) in “Uma Thurman” and Motley Crue in “American Beauty / American Psycho” is a feat in its one entirety. This new sounding Fall Out Boy is obviously directed toward the arena setting and its massive pop fan base. This album is worlds apart from the “Dance Dance” Fall Out Boy everyone fell in love with in 2005, but the real question is can you blame them? They were irrelevant for about a two year time period when only a handful of loyal fans still listened to their work. They had to reinvent themselves in order to sell records and whether or not some fans like this new band is up for debate.
But don’t get me wrong this a good album with a handful of awesome tracks, but it obvious that they are trying to be too poppy. With simple choruses that sound eerily familiar to each other and too much noise drowning out the hard hitting drums and bass, American Beauty / American Psycho is album that shines best when keeping it simple. Songs like “Novocaine” and “American Beauty / American Psycho” are the ones that stand out the most because they drew from their punk music influences and added a new dynamic to it.
With back to back chart topping albums, Fall Out Boy has proven they can adapt to what the people want and show they are here to stay. While they are no longer the mascara-wearing punk stars they were before their hiatus, they are putting out high quality music that continues to sell. Some songs are forgettable on this record, some songs will be over played on the radio, but some songs are underrated gems and are worth taking a listen to.
My favorite tracks:
“Novocaine” – A hard-hitting song that gets me pumped every time I turn it on.
“Irresistible” – A perfect example of the “new” Fall Out Boy sound.
“American Beauty / American Psycho” – A song that stays true to their punk past.