Upon hearing the triumphant fanfare that begins album opener “Irresistible” for Fall Out Boy’s new record I half-expected an NFL team to come running out of a happenstance arena. Yes, this introduction is THAT grandiose and huge, and why shouldn’t it be? Fall Out Boy are widely known and loved for being a band that has made both rock and pop music relevant to our generation.
On this record, they continue the top 40 electro-pop/rock & roll hybridized sound they introduced on ‘Save Rock & Roll’ with more consistent results. The band themselves have their feet firmly planted in 50’s and 60’s jukebox dancy rock & roll while standing in modernly massive mainstream pop landscapes. This observation is especially noticeable in the pulled straight out of Grease title track and surfer rock-minded “Uma Thurman”. But the name of the game with this specific record is creating anthems, and is an activity done with such vigor and youth that the listener won’t be able to contain themselves from bobbing their head, busting out into an old-school sock hop jig and singing their lungs out. The radio world has already been subjected to the taller than the Empire State Building melodies of “Centuries” and there’s no doubt that every track on this record could also be remembered for centuries.
A one Patrick Stump gives nothing but a memorable, powerful and at times beautifully vulnerable vocal performance with so much energy and passion. The surprising amounts of anger and resentment shown in a track like “Novocaine” when combined with the death toll-tinged desperation of “Jet Pack Blues” showcase the singer in a darker place, interesting to hear among such confident numbers as the aforementioned “Irresistible” and “Centuries”. Make no mistake, the Fall Out Boy we hear here may be young but continues to mature at rapid rates. Cliffhanger album closer “Twin Skeleton’s (Hotel In NYC)” is both foreboding and empowering, shedding some light again on the excellent piano pieces that can come from this band (joined also by “Uma Thurman”).
The musical/emotional duality of each track on ‘American Beauty, American Psycho’ as well as the downright incredible transitions and memorable songwriting are going to allow it to be seen as one of the year’s finest and most intriguing pop releases. Any fan of good music will be able to appreciate and understand its appeal, something that can also be accredited to Fall Out Boy as musicians. The energetic pop-punk of the band’s yesterdays still remains in a much mature and adventurous form here and that consistency alone will be able to pull in fans who may have been scared off by ‘Save Rock & Roll’s sudden genre shifts.
Soundscape: Harkening back to the days of rock & roll’s prime while keeping the songwriting and melodies dynamic and catchy in a modern sense is bold and full of life. All manner of accompanying instruments and elements keep the atmosphere varied.
Band Chemistry: FOB seem to grow stronger as a unit with each release, a testament to the band knowing the music they want to play. Energy abounds.
Lyrics: Self-confidence, empowerment, laments, regrets, confessions. Patrick Stump is an open book here.
Vocals: Patrick gives 1 of the best performances of his career. The melodies are powerful and sky-high and the emotion is on high.
Replayability: The album firmly stays mid-tempo, but the songs are so well-arranged and catchy that it’s an easy factor to overlook. 11 tracks to listen to and easily enjoy more than a few times.