Sound — 6
In 2013 Fall Out Boy had just released their fifth studio album "Save Rock and Roll," and it was all the talk for a while. Songs like "My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark," "The Phoenix" and "Alone Together" took over radio and the album hit number 1. It was considered the band's come-back album and showed a fresh new side to their music that combined their out of control rock side, with a pop twist. And now it's 2015 and they've released a fresh set of 11 songs for us. But has it extended from their previous album, or has the band taken a huge step back?
They've continued from the feel of the last album and used a lot of horns, strings and keys thought out the album. Stump's classic vocal and Wentz's lyrical presence is quite relevant on the album as it always has with Stump showing off the crazy vocal work that he's been known to be capable of. But this album seems to just be ripping off the sound of "Save Rock and Roll." Pop songs, sung by what was one of the big time 2000's rock bands. Songs like "Irresistible" and "Centuries" sound like they were songs that didn't quite make it onto the past album. However there are other songs on the album like the album's title track "American Beauty/American Psycho" and "Novocaine" showing the rough, crazy, out of control rock side that the band has been known for, however still with the presence of more modern pop influence both musically and lyrically.
Lyrics — 5
Lyrically the album isn't as strong as its predecessors, however for the style this album is in, the songs are quite well written and presented. Tracks like "The Kids Aren't Alright" show off the great lyrical ability of the band and makes for one of the better songs on the album. Even though the album is so similar to the styles of their last album the album stretches the limits from the past albums releases. There are more out of control rock-pop cross-over songs, a great turn towards the more pop aspects of their style with songs like "Fourth of July" and "Favorite Record" being extremely layered pop radio hits.
Overall Impression — 6
FOB's sixth release is an interesting set of songs. It incorporates aspects of heavy guitar masked by synth and samples. There is always a large presence of Stump's vocals and Hurley's impressive drum work. The album has a mixed sense of style, not following a specific theme, trailing from pop tracks filled with catchy Fall Out Boy hooks, to out of control rock songs, first pumping, good time hits as well as the occasional "what are they doing?" The presence of sampling on this record seems to dull-out the musicianship of the band creating an over-produced pop-rock record.
Overall, even though the more poppy-style Fall Out Boy is popular and it is working for them, I think that with the next album they should go back to listening to what influenced their work on "From Under the Cork Tree" and "Infinity on a High" and deliver a more rock heavy, guitar driven album.
Standout tracks: "The Kids Aren't Alright," "Uma Thurman," "Centuries."