On Feb. 4, pop punk band Fall Out Boy announced they would be returning from a four year hiatus.
This was the pop punk band I obsessed over in middle school, my first favorite band, and my first concert. Once they announced their return, it was full speed ahead for the group. They dropped “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark,” a video, and announced a full summer tour I’m still bitter I never got to see.
Their new album “Save Rock and Roll” officially drops next week, but the band released it a week early for online streaming.
Pete Wentz stated on the band’s website, “because of the way we went about making this one in the shadows, it is without a doubt the first record in a new chapter of Fall Out Boy. We made this music for ourselves and no one else at the end of the day.”
Regardless of Wentz’s disclaimer, I wasn’t sure how to feel about the new album. At first, I was appalled and disappointed. After a few listens, I found much more to appreciate about the band’s return to music.
The album opens with dramatic strings in “The Phoenix,” an all-around decent track from the band that sounds reminiscent of some of their old songs and the new single “My Songs Know….” “Alone Together” is sort of a strange anthem complete with plenty of “Oh oh ohhhh’s” that we know and love from Fall Out Boy.
While Patrick Stump’s voice is ridiculously high in this song, he pulls it off, and this song wins the “catchiest” award so far. “Young Volcanoes” is another plus to the album, but it’s not a typical fit for the band. It’s a happy, cheesy, free-feeling song that could fit with the tunes they play during montages on American Idol.
The song that absolutely falls flat on this album also happens to feature Courtney Love. “Rat A Tat” begins with Love yelling a bunch of weird things and then Stump joins in with the same strained vocals we’re used to from “This Ain’t a Scene” and their earlier work.
The whole song sounds like a rip off from a new My Chemical Romance album, mixed with a soul song. Fortunately, the album concludes with “Save Rock and Roll,” which has a back track of “Chicago,” a song from one of their first albums “Take This to Your Grave.”
It is an homage to the fans that stuck with them through the hiatus. The song has a beautiful piano track and features Sir Elton John. How can you go wrong there? This ballad makes up for the atrocious track that came before it. It’s a powerful message for their dedicated fan base, but may fall flat for new listeners.
The album, as a whole, features a lot of forgettable songs, but the band is clearly trying a bunch of different sounds, because they have nothing to lose. Patrick Stump’s vocals don’t disappoint and it seems that Wentz has improved his bass skills over the last four years.
While I’m glad the band is back, I don’t see “Save Rock and Roll” becoming iconic to Fall Out Boy fans other than it being their reunion album. I think it has the ability to draw in new fans, but the changes may be a little too overwhelming for the oldies.