I recently listened to Fall Out Boy’s Save Rock and Roll. This is their first album since 2008, and it shows. Not in terms of talent, but rather in the more polished direction it has taken. Like fellow angsty headliners Panic! At The Disco and My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy has eschewed punk-pop in favor of a heartier record.
The album leads off with “The Phoenix,” a theatrical and metal-infused track in which lead singer Patrick Stump cries to “put on your war paint” and wage the war to save rock. “Light ‘Em Up” follows, rooted in a hip-hop beat that would serve as a good crowd-pumping song. “Alone Together” is the closest thing to vintage FOB on this record, despite its deviation from heavy distortion. “Where Did the Party Go” and “Miss Missing You” are the more eighties of the tracks, and are fairly forgettable save a clever bon mot here and there. “Just One Yesterday” borrows its verse melody from Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep,” which doesn’t help it in the credibility department. Guest-singer Foxes adds a layer of depth, but it is not on par with modern punk-rock’s greatest duet “Remembering Sunday.” “The Mighty Fall” and “Death Valley” are full of the sensual honesty Stump delivered in singles like “Sugar, We’re Going Down” and “Thnks Fr Th Mmrs.”
The final three songs each have a different element to them. “Young Volcanoes” would be at home around a campfire, complete with handclaps. Think Jake Owens making a punk record, and you might get the idea. “Rat a Tat” features Courtney Love leading off the track with a profanity-laced tirade about taking down a city using bombs. While the lyrics must have seemed clever given the album’s theme, the song comes across as insensitive given the recent bombing at the Boston Marathon. In fact, the album was released the day after the bombings took place. Do over, anyone? The final track, “Save Rock and Roll,” might be the most powerful on the album. Taking a sample from “Chicago Is So Two Years Ago” and placing it against piano and drum was a brilliant move. Guest vocalist Elton John adds a nice touch, although it comes across a bit too Broadway during his second verse.
While not as compelling an album as Take This to Your Grave or From Under the Cork Tree, Save Rock and Roll has all the witty lyrics and catchy melodies the Overcast Kids have come to expect.
Album Rating: 7 out of 10
Check Out: “Save Rock and Roll,” “Light ‘Em Up
Skip: “Where Did the Party Go,” “Miss Missing You”