Fall in to Fall Out Boy’s latest album


Lindsey Saba, News Editor

Fall Out Boy’s discography is vast, spanning years, styles, and even generations. Many of their songs, such as “The Phoenix” and “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light ‘Em Up)” were chart-toppers, and some have achieved what could be considered a “cult classic” status—“Thnks Fr Th Mmrs”,  “Sugar, We’re Goin Down”, and “I Don’t Care”, anyone?

With their newest album American Beauty/American Psycho released on Jan. 20, 2015, Fall Out Boy adds another layer to their musical history bedrock. Predictably, I have already heard people say that the songs are bad, that the band’s signature sound is gone, and that it’s just “autotune music” before I even got a chance to hear the entire album. With such lovely comments ringing in my ears, I decided it was time to give F.O.B.’s latest labor of love a good listen and find out if these critics could possibly be correct.

  1.      “Irresistible”– For the first song on the track list, “Irresistible” does its job, and does it well; it’s a song that pulls you in with the beat and has you nodding along to the lyrics in no time flat. So far, it is hard to say whether Fall Out Boy’s style has drastically changed or not. Still, I do enjoy the rhythmic aboutface as the song goes from drawing out the word “irresistible” to throwing words as rapidly as punches with a backbeat to match.
  1.      “American Beauty/American Psycho”– Considering that the name of the song and the name of the album are the same, I expected this song to pack a bit more of an “oomph,” but it seems like it could be easily forgotten with all the other musical stylings the album has to offer. This might be the song that garners the most criticism, as, yes, it doesn’t sound much like the Fall Out Boy that so many people know and love, but it isn’t a bad song either; the wild lyrics are still there, but it seems watered down to me.
  1.      “Centuries”– “Centuries” is the song that’s been on the radio for months, ever since it was released on Sept. 8, 2014, and you have likely heard at least the chorus of it (“You will remember me, remember me for centuries”). It is possibly the most beloved song from American Beauty/American Psycho, and it has been fluctuating between number 6 and number 7 on iTunes top songs chart as of late. Listening to it, it’s easy to see—or rather hear—why. The vocals and lyrics are empowering, and it feels like it could be an anthem for anyone and everyone. That being said, “Centuries” is actually quite dissimilar to Fall Out Boy’s past hits—but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Fall Out Boy is a band. It is composed of people, and people are not static. They are dynamic, constantly changing, and it makes sense that their sound reflects that. If every album sounded the same, people would, believe it or not, get bored of listening to the band.
  1.      “The Kids Aren’t Alright”– Starting off slow and building to the hand-clapping pulse that is so popular as of late, “The Kids Aren’t Alright” is catchy and cool. There aren’t any major guitar riffs, as it’s more laid-back (instrument-wise, not lyric-wise).
  2.      “Uma Thurman”– This a certainly a dance song, reflected in both the tempo and the lyrics (“She wants to dance like Uma Thurman”), and in the first 20 seconds features the theme from “The Munsters”, that famed 1960s family-friendly macabre sitcom. Somehow it’s a fitting cameo in a Fall Out Boy song.
  1.      “Jet Pack Blues”– Like “Irresistible”, “Jet Pack Blues” goes from slow to fast, but here it switches more from sad and somber (“She’s in a long black coat tonight, waiting for me in the downpour outside,”) to a chanted plead (“Baby, come home!”). It reminds me of a black-and-white detective film noir, what with the long coat and downpour imagery. While it doesn’t sound like any of F.O.B.’s past songs, it is reminiscent of them. If a band could give a shout-out to its younger self via a song, “Jet Pack Blues” is that song.
  1.      “Novocaine”– Dark and gritty, “Novocaine”  sounds like it has some rage and angst behind its lyrics. Out of all the tracks on American Beauty/American Psycho so far, it is the most like classic Fall Out Boy songs. With vocals both glossy and raspy instead of only the latter, there is a new twist, and it isn’t bad at all. The yelled verses work well here just as they have in so many of Fall Out Boy’s past hits, and that might be why I can’t stop listening to it.
  1.      “Fourth of July”– With emotional lyrics hidden by a quick, lighthearted beat, this track is all Fall Out Boy. It’s catchy and becomes at one point as hard to sing along to as “This Ain’t a Scene, it’s an Arms Race,” so I would consider “Fourth of July” a  great success.
  2.      “Favorite Record”– The repetition makes this song sound like a record caught on its needle–very clever, given the title. If “Thnks Fr Th Mmrs” is the the song you slam your door shut and blast through your earbuds,“Favorite Record” is the song you blast out of your car’s speakers with the windows down while you drive, wind blowing in your hair. It is an incredible difference, but “Favorite Record” stays true to the Fall Out Boy tradition: rockin’ music played at a dubious volume.
  1.  “Immortals”– “Immortals” is literally the movie montage song. It was recorded for Disney’s “Big Hero 6,” and plays when the heroes are training to fight the villain of the film. Hence, “Immortals” is uplifting and powerful, with a beat that makes you feel as though you could move mountains. Instruments and vocals combine perfectly here, as they have in so many F.O.B. songs, to create a sublime anthem that makes you feel, well, immortal.
  1.  “Twin Skeleton’s (Hotel In NYC)”– A song with morbid overtones, “Twin Skeleton’s” is a fitting track to end American Beauty/American Psycho. It leaves a lingering sense of sadness in the heart, both because of its melody and because we know this could be the last new song from Fall Out Boy that we get  for quite a while. However, with lyrics that repeat “hold on, hold on,” there was a smile on my face as the album came to an end.

Now that the last notes have faded, I think that I can say that yes, American Beauty/American Psycho does sound quite different from other Fall Out Boy albums. However, as I mentioned in the “Centuries” section, that doesn’t make it a second-rate album. Every Fall Out Boy album has its  own distinct flavor, reflecting the evolution of the band itself, and they are all near and dear to fans’ hearts. In conclusion, American Beauty/American Psycho is a fantastic album, and if the critics say otherwise… “I Don’t Care.”