Album Review: Fall Out Boy, ‘Save Rock and Roll’

joe zorzi saves rock and roll …

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When Fall Out Boy announced that their new album would be called Save Rock and Roll, I could already hear the cries of outrage from fans and critics coming. Fall Out Boy is just one of those bands that always seems to get flack for whatever they do. I’ll admit, it’s a bit ballsy to name your album that when you’re a pop band, but people tend to take them too seriously. Right from the start I knew they were being tongue-in-cheek, so I always find it funny when people complain that they’re trying to save rock and roll with electro-pop songs.

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This isn’t the same Fall Out Boy that we used to know and they made that quite clear when they came out of “hiatus.” While listening, it was sometimes hard to decide whether I should judge this album against their past work or if I should just judge it as something different altogether. I settled with the latter, which helped me enjoy the record a lot more. Save Rock and Roll is a very good pop album.

The album opens with “The Phoenix” which is the epitome of an epic intro. It’s an immediate attention grabber and brings you right into the album. It’s followed by their first single “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark” and “Alone Together”, which is without a doubt the standout track on Save Rock and Roll. It reminds me of “Coffee’s For Closers” in the way that the track is one big sing along. If this isn’t the next single off the album Fall Out Boy and their label are insane. This song is destined to be in heavy rotation on every pop radio station all summer long.

It’s pretty clear that this album is driven by Patrick Stump’s vocals, which are better than ever before. He’s always had a soulful voice and it’s great to hear him use it to its full potential. At points it can get a little overbearing, but for the most part, his voice makes the album.

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There are definitely some missteps on this album though. I could totally do without “Where Did The Party Go?” It adds nothing to the album. The rest of the album is already so catchy and dancy there was really no need to add this blatant paint-by-numbers dance-pop song on it.

For the most part, the features are great. Big Sean was the perfect match for “The Mighty Fall”, keeping his bars light and laid back. Foxes’ voice sounded great matched with Patrick’s on “Just One Yesterday” making for a great ballad (aside from the intro which was basically Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep”). It was especially cool to hear Elton John on the closer, “Save Rock and Roll”. Elton going back and forth with Patrick was something I never thought I’d hear, but something about the track overall just doesn’t do it for me. It feels like it’s trying really hard to be powerful and deep instead of actually being a truly emotional song. And the chorus reminds me way too much of “America’s Sweethearts.”

And now onto my biggest problem with this album: Courtney Love.

Why is she on this album? What can Courtney Love actually add to this record or any record for that matter? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. When I first heard that she was on “Save Rock and Roll,” I was actually annoyed with Fall Out Boy. They’re just being controversial for the sake of being controversial and that’s pretty weak to me. Have a little dignity. Courtney Love is a pretty shitty artist and a pretty shitty person. It’s funny though, because without her feature “Ratatat” would probably the best song on the album. The way Patrick sings “I kept wishing she had blonde ambition and she let it go to my head” right into the “RATATAT” singalong gets me every time.

But aside from a few missteps, Fall Out Boy delivered an awesome pop record. Did they save rock and roll? Doubtful. But if some of these songs break into mainstream radio, it can actually help rock music have somewhat of a presence again.

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Save Rock and Roll is an album I can see myself blasting straight through the summer. I haven’t heard a record with this many memorable pop songs in a long time and I hope that people can be open minded enough to give the songs a few listens and just enjoy without wishing it was Take This To Your Grave Pt. II.

It’s great to see that Fall Out Boy’s back. It’s new chapter in their career and an exciting one at that.