Save Rock and Roll review by Fall Out Boy

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  • Released: Apr 12, 2013
  • Sound: 6
  • Lyrics: 6
  • Overall Impression: 6
  • Reviewer's score: 6 Neat
  • Users' score: 7.5 (478 votes)
Fall Out Boy: Save Rock and Roll
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Sound — 6
If there's one thing Fall Out Boy deserve credit for, it's making sure that even their greatest enemies are talking about them. Love and hate defined their first wind as a goofy pop-punk outfit, but the conversation didn't stop when they went on hiatus in 2009 and as much as they'd hate to it admit it, everybody including UG readers was waiting with baited breath to dissect the title and circumstances of comeback album "Save Rock And Roll". Only unimaginative writers will grant that much attention to the title - those who know the band, and especially their propensity for silly names, will take the pinch of salt and focus on the music. As was foretold by the singles (or even further back, the soulful, camp and utterly divine "Folie À Deux") this is Fall Out Boy's emancipation from rock. The live band dynamic is dismantled, the trusty powerchord left behind, and in its place rises an assertive and occasionally callous take on mechanical mainstream pop. The most striking thing, besides the remarkable presence of Elton John on the title track, is that so much of it is electronic. Drum machines, processed vocals, chopped samples and synthesisers are all mixed into the palette of new producer Butch Walker. With credits including Taylor Swift, Avril Lavigne and Weezer's "Raditude", Walker has a history of sucking the soul out of established artists but the best he can do with Fall Out Boy is redraw their boundaries and see how they react. The boundaries are drawn liberally, however. Eleven distinct songs traverse sickly bubblegum ("Where Did The Party Go"), thundering powerpop ("Rat A Tat") and even rap ("The Mighty Fall" featuring Big Sean) to name a few. "Save Rock And Roll" is both diverse in its influences and all too ready to adhere to homogenous pop aesthetics in pursuit of the ultimate hook. They're not all winners by any means, but catchiness runs rampant through some of these tracks and that ought to be remembered while you're busy being offended by the changes on the surface.

Lyrics — 6
Singer Patrick Stump and lyricist Pete Wentz bear a lot of the responsibility to oversee these wholesale changes with tact and class; a catchy melody and smart set of lyrics can do a lot to ease the transition. The early signs aren't great, though they've had stronger rhymes than "I'm gonna change you like a remix/then I'll raise you like a phoenix," that's for sure. Wentz is tentative with his emotional content, unsure of how personal he can get before it starts to distract from the album's charisma, but he has reasonable success with everything else. Standout track "Young Volcanoes" is a neat little package of aspiration and youth idealism and is one of only a few occasions where Stump dials down the vanity and sings intimately. He is wonderfully talented and leads the line impressively but his bombastic melodies, especially coupled with the processed pop backdrop, do seem rather impersonal.

Overall Impression — 6
I always got the impression that Fall Out Boy were born popstars, but had to grow up playing in punk bands before they could figure out how to spread their wings. As it happens, their transformation has been a very public one but the advantage of coming back from a hiatus is that this can be a clean break. This is Fall Out Boy 2.0, but not everybody's gonna like it. The devout pop-punker will wretch at the sound but the oblivious radio listener will hardly notice the cracks as the four of them blend into the mainstream pop landscape. No matter the prejudices you bring to it "Save Rock And Roll" is still a postmodern-pseudo-ironic-avant-scene adventure in the end, and it has all of the confusion and some of the fun that Fall Out Boy made a name on. You can't say they don't keep it fresh, but have they got this one right? We'll know that they have if people are still upset about it in two years' time.

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129 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Matt Doreen
    As I look at it, they're not saving rock n roll, the genre,but rather, the attitude, in themselves. This is the most confident and alive the band's ever felt; they didn't make the album anyone expected them to. That's pretty rock n roll.
    miketheman401
    I'm going against the grain on this one and saying I enjoy it. The pop sensibility was there from their first album. For this one they just decided "**** it, this is the band we are now". The melodies are downright infectious, and I have never heard Stump sound better. But, to each his own, I suppose. It is not going to be everyone's cup of tea.
    captainsnazz
    I listened to those two songs. Never really gave them a chance before, and maybe it's just because I've grown up, but some things about it appeal to me. It's definitely not what I'd call "my thing" - I'm probably not going to listen to the rest of the album - but it certainly was not bad (not that music can be objectively bad anyway). And even if I didn't enjoy any of it at all, I still wouldn't be posting an angry, poorly thought out comment on here. LOL JK M3t4lz 4 LYF, KIRK MUSTAINE 4 PRESIDENT 2013
    MusicMan24
    You people need to quit taking the Rock and Roll part of all this so literally. I dig quite a few songs off this record, it's definitely not their best but a great listen. They were the first band I liked and I'm glad they're back together
    lemming1_1
    I'm happy with this album. I would've liked a heavier guitar presence and I'll be interested to see how much or little backing tracks they use live. But I'm not jumping off the band wagon just yet.
    zamboni757
    what it all comes down to is that it is pop, however, its good pop with todays standards. i would rather listen to this then say justin beiber or ke$ha.
    cadencelaurie
    Nice review, though I think the ratings are brutal. I can't help but think people still measure their performance by the TTTYG and FUCT albums. Not saying thats bad, but sometimes it blurs your judgement too much. Take time to listen, its worth it
    guitarist5477
    It's a good pop rock album, deserves a 6 to me.
    Gerard Way Jr
    ...so what's the review trying to say?
    mgary347
    it's the UG team reviews. what did you expect?
    Gerard Way Jr
    Agreed, though I do like "the soulful, camp and utterly divine "Folie Deux"" bit. Nice to see Folie recognized.
    duncang
    I tried to describe what it sounds like and how good it is by the standards of their back catalogue and the climate they're releasing it into now. Do you think I missed anything?
    Gerard Way Jr
    Well, considering each section was about a paragraph long, there isn't really much, uh, being said here. The first paragraph is an intro, the second says...that it's less rock, perhaps? Which has been the case since 2008. Third paragraph says it's more pop...which, again, doesn't really draw any comparisons between Folie/Soul Punk and this one. The only paragraph with actual information and analysis is the one for lyrics and singing, and all that really says is that it's less personal and there are some weak rhymes. No thematic discussion, no contrast between previous release. It's as if you followed the review submission page's suggestions by the book. The final paragraph doesn't draw any conclusions or state any opinions, and the same can be said for most of the review. You don't justify the ratings you give it (even if they are fair) with discussion of the content. Personal pronouns (you, we'll) are amateurish. I could go on.
    duncang
    Personal pronoun 'I' is amateurish without justification but others are fine if you ask me, particularly when we're dealing with a musical pinata like Fall Out Boy. Cultivating an audience 'n that. Since we brought in preview tracks I've dialled back the description a smidgeon because people don't need a running commentary to their own listening. I tried to treat it as a conversation piece because my understanding is - as I put in the intro - that's what Fall Out Boy like and that's what they are on UG as well. They're real comment bait. There's plenty of comparison with their past, but it's not explicit because being explicit takes words and people can only take so many words before either scrolling to the youtube link or clicking elsewhere. But I've committed a cardinal sin: reading the comments and *even worse* replying to them, so that's all from me!
    K!!LsWiTcH
    i totally get you and think what you did was fair, especially after reading your justification of it.
    EpiExplorer
    Wow. I dont even need to be here, the badness speaks for itself.
    Skyvalve2012
    Could be worse. They could turn into the clone of Bring me the Horizon. But still, why is a pop album on here?
    SGofawesome
    Because this isn't ultimate-metal.com, it's ultimate-guitar.
    a drummer
    true, but i'm not sure if i even heard a guitar in those 2 tracks i painfully put myself through
    hereticfive
    Wow, this might be the first time I've read a comment on UG that isn't close-minded.
    thejohnoparty
    so are BMTH the "Nickelback" on this site? neither deserve the volume of bandwagon hate.
    Redfinton22
    They both have my respect for how successful they've become, but I honestly cannot ****ing stand Bring Me The Horizon, and NOT just because nobody else here can.
    iommi600
    I'm here only to laugh at the comments.
    EyesWideOpen
    Likewise. I really did not expect this kind of reaction from people in regards to this album. Anyone with a negative opinion of it is getting flooded with downvotes. Makes a guy wonder...
    Sam Rulez D00d
    It's pop, but it's not bad. It took a few listens for most of the songs to click for me but now a lot of them get stuck in my head. Take This To Your Grave and Cork Tree are still their best work by far in my opinion, but they changed so much that you can't really compare it. I wish there was a little more real instrumentation on it but whatever, pop is pop.
    narinderkapur
    Well, at least one part of the review was right: If there's one thing Fall Out Boy deserve credit for, it's making sure that even their greatest enemies are talking about them. Love and hate defined their first wind as a goofy pop-punk outfit, but the conversation didn't stop when they went on hiatus in 2009 and as much as they'd hate to it admit it, everybody including UG readers was waiting with baited breath to dissect the title and circumstances of comeback album "Save Rock And Roll". I used to be and still am fan of Fall Out Boy, it's just that this album is too electronic for me. Maybe I'll grow into it, maybe I won't. But I'm glad they're back.
    ForlornHope420
    Rock n' Roll but no guitar solos?
    guitarist5477
    Wait so if a song doesn't have a solo it can't be rock n' roll? That sir is nonsensical (read in an english accent)
    dontblink17
    "WAAAAA this album sucks cuz it's not rock!" "WAAAAA Fall Out Boy aren't punk anymore!" "WAAAAA They're too emo!" "WAAA They're not emo enough!" Seriously, it's getting old. Fall Out Boy is simply a band that will always be criticized, if only because they are Fall Out Boy. Judging from the sound of the record, they're completely aware of this and therefor have zero ****s left to give. They are saying a heartfelt "FUCK YOU" to pretty much every genre and doing whatever they want. I say more power to them! Yeah it's a pop album, but it's a damn good one. Also the title "Save Rock & Roll," IT'S CALLED IRONY, PEOPLE!
    Aaron!!
    This guy is too right. Forget old Fall Out Boy, this is a completely different album. Took me a few listens to enjoy it, but definitely worth it. The confidence is a major part of what makes it so vibrant, like don'tblink said they did what the hell they wanted and produced a good pop album.
    Vadrae21
    I personally think its a great album, good as all the other ones. It must suck to be someone who can't enjoy 'music' regardless of the genre, this gladly fits in my current rotation of Killswitch, Brad Paisley, LoG, BTBAM and Twelve Foot Ninja! :-p I mean really, if its just not your thing thats fine, but finding reasons to hate something just because of stupid pre-concieved notions is just retarded. An open mind is a wonderful thing.
    CommentBelow
    The album is pretty decent by pop rock standards. I'm more of a fan of their older material, but there are a few catchy tunes on here.
    xJMx PRS
    Thought it was an alright listen, good songs and bad, whats so wrong about that?
    HH_Emo_666
    I gave this album a 4. It's to poppy and electronic for me to enjoy it.
    Gerard Way Jr
    I would've said poppy, not necessarily electronic. Especially considering Soul Punk really WAS electronic.
    HH_Emo_666
    I didn't listen to Soul Punk
    Gerard Way Jr
    Right, but there's a distinction between pop and electronic.
    neoncinderella
    are you trying to make a logical point to someone named HH_Emo_666 or
    Gerard Way Jr
    My name's Gerard Way Jr; I'm the last person with a right to ridicule people for something like that.
    HH_Emo_666
    A lot of the songs sound the same too. Thats what modern pop and electro shitty music does. My favorite song is the title song, and probably Rat a Tat Tat
    Gerard Way Jr
    Well, no, I don't necessarily think the album's great, I'm just saying that it's more pop and less electronic. Little use of synth, etc, and more percussive instrumentation.
    bezzr
    Im a long time fan, but After the first two singles and being called save rock and roll, fall out boy have catfished us all. This album is poo
    HH_Emo_666
    Honestly, I only like two songs off this album. The rest is filler and complete shit. For an album being titled "Save Rock and Roll," they simply did their very best to just ruin it.
    Gerard Way Jr
    They didn't even play rock 'n' roll. How would that ruin it?
    HH_Emo_666
    then why name that the ****ing title?
    Gerard Way Jr
    Two options 1) Wentz is a pretentious ***** The other one I discuss in my review, which...I dunno, it's been in the submission box for two days now; maybe UG wanted to wait it out so they'd be the only review with any attention. You're being melodramatic brah The album's not great, but they didn't do "their very best to just ruin" rock 'n' roll. That was Bon Jovi.
    Vash_15
    Yeah, UG tends to do that with reviews. That's one reason I stopped actively writing them. You can turn it in a week before the album's release and they'll just let it stew in the submissions until they're sure everyone's read theirs first.
    Gerard Way Jr
    That and the ratings system. Looking at your "Neighborhoods" review, you know exactly what I mean - whether people will rate it well is almost always based on whether they agree with the opinion (rather than analysis) or not. Writing a beaming review will get you a few thumbs up and a couple of thumbs down. Writing a negative review (or even lukewarm, like this one) will get you...well, just look at it. 3/11.
    cyclonus
    They did that with my Deftones one for Koi No Yokan, which I thought was crap cause I wanted to give an unbiased review of the album compared to their fanboy 10/10 one for it
    Sam Rulez D00d
    I'm not a fanboy but I would've given Koi No Yokan 10/10 haha
    Krauser
    Yeah I'm not the biggest Deftones fan, though I have their music and enjoy it on occasion, but Koi No Yokan deserved the praise it got. That and Parallax II if you ask me.
    vppark2
    I can only imagine what the fangirls have to say about this. Ugh -_-
    ladyk2013
    Hello from a fangirl. The review sucks. UG reviews always suck. The album is fine. Not their best or worst.
    Jonagorn
    Surely YOU don't have to imagine what you're thinking.
    gibson_sg_fan
    Dude seriously, if you don't like them why did you even read this? This album is amazing and every UG review I've ever read is complete crap.
    SocksAndTrees
    Considering the amount of typos and bad reviews the UG team has given, I'm starting to think the writing process there goes something like: "LOL I CAN TYPING"
    SocksAndTrees
    Oh and by the way, has anyone on this site EVER considered that possibility that "Save Rock and Roll" might be an IRONIC statement? I mean, if you've seen the music video for I Don't Care, it begins with them being trashed for having no guitar solos, wearing eyeliner, etc. So clearly FOB knows what they're doing "Wrong" (Wrong being in the sense to single minded metal heads). I mean I seriously doubt FOB sat down at the end of the day thoroughly convinced that they saved rock and roll. Their music isn't the best, but they're not fking morons.
    vppark2
    Because I like reading reviews from bands I know? We all have different opinions btw....what did I say that threw people off?
    Mikethespud
    You mean every UG review you've ever read has expressed a different opinion from you?
    Gerard Way Jr
    No, he means every UG Team review is lacking in terms of quality. In the last month alone, I've had two of their writers contact me for advice due to complaints.
    stickman31
    It's good for a pop album, but I don't think it's that great. I was never a fan of FOB, and most likely never will be.
    batman131
    haha ok, when I opened this link I knew that I would find this kind of comments, because... haters are gonna hate. I like it, for me it's a good album, but in this website everyone is going to hate it
    EyesWideOpen
    It's not really a case of hatred. it's a case of some people thinking it's bad music and a case of people like you dismissing people of different opinions as "haters".
    batman131
    You may be right, but I call them haters because of the way the talk about the band and their music, if they were respectful I wouldn't call them haters
    K!!LsWiTcH
    plenty of people like myself didnt simply dismiss the album. and plenty of people like myself do like their music and didnt say they didnt like the album by saying OMFG FOB SUX COX. not everyones a douchebag bro
    jsp16
    OMG OMG OMG THEY SAVED ROCK n ROLL !!!! OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG ALBUM OF THE YEAR
    latinromans
    You see, this tactic is often used when people actually react with excitement to something mediocre, to the best of my knowledge no one has or is ever going to claim this is a really good record in a serious manner so your comment has left people quite baffled.
    jonathebest
    I wanted to hear more of Joe/Andy of what they were making with the Damned Things you know with Scott Ian....but its a very dance record, it seems that is a solo album of patrick, i expected more, don't get me wrong is enjoyable but not a great "comeback", but so far so good...and rock and roll is not only a heavy sound, is an attitude too, maybe you can hate that band but...if you hate them, why are you reading this review in the first place? don't waste your time ...
    K!!LsWiTcH
    i really only like the title track and the very first song off the album. i listened to it when they streamed it and was just saddened
    HH_Emo_666
    i love how you and i both get downvoted for expressing how we feel about the album
    K!!LsWiTcH
    yeah lol i didnt even say it in a derogatory way that would piss people off haha but whatever its just a downvote. im probably one of the few people here who genuinely gave this a chance too. not saying no one did but the large majority of the people here probably said its FOB so its shitballs downvoted everything gave the album a one and left. and ive liked a lot of fobs stuff too, right up to folie a deux. i dont mind a poppier direction but i just dont think they executed well here
    dsperez88
    I listened to the album with an open mind to see why people were bashing it and the majority is right. This album blows harder than Sasha Gray in her prime.
    Gerard Way Jr
    The majority of metalheads on UG who were going to hate it anyway? Most of the fan community is receiving it pretty well, from what I've seen. Critics like it. So...what majority?
    dsperez88
    I also tend to read reviews before making a purchase and I still buy the album, because sometimes the reviews are not correct. In this case, the "majority" was correct.
    Jonagorn
    I prefer to use what knowledge I have of the band to make a decision into whether or not I should buy it (Obviously not this particular album). I don't really give a shit what the reviews say. It's just one guy's opinion...
    dsperez88
    I read a lot of reviews for this album prior to buying it and out of 9 reputable sources, 7 were rather negative. Just google these sources. So there's your answer with the "majority."
    Gerard Way Jr
    I'm looking at Allmusic (3.5/5), Alt Press (4/5), EW (B), RS (3.5/5), USA Today (3/4). Only two out of seven reviews that Wiki cites are below 3 stars, and both could be considered about as reputable as UG. The tumblr community seems to like it. The forum community seems to like it. Other websites are giving it good reviews. I don't seem a "majority" disliking at all. Maybe, again, about 2/7. I dunno how good with fractions you are, but, ah...that's not a majority. >"Google sources" >doesn't put sources ok bro
    dsperez88
    In my opinion, the album sucks. Get over it. God forbid I have an opinion. I respect yours. Have a nice day.
    Gerard Way Jr
    No, dude, look. No hard feelings. I don't mind your opinion. Hell, my review gives about the same rating as the UG team one. I'm not in love with the album myself. But we're not talking about opinion here; we're talking about the "facts" you're presenting. Don't say "reputable sources" are giving negative reviews without giving the sources. Also I don't think you understand the meaning of the word "troll". >Getting offended on the internet Calm dooown, man.
    dsperez88
    I think it's funny. Sounds like you are the offended one here because my opinion differs from yours.
    Gerard Way Jr
    Wat Dude Calm down. Nobody's offended. I'm just calling out this "reputable sources" thing because it isn't true. Again, I'm not too into the album either. Our opinions aren't much different, I suspect, but again, that's not what we're discussing. Seriously, chill out.
    dsperez88
    All I have to say to you is: Keep calm and listen to Mozart. Have a nice day kind sir.
    GeekInThePink
    Good work at trying to make the conversation about something else to save your dignity, and by "good work," I mean "bad work." Quit freaking out bro.
    E=MCawesome
    I'm sorry, but a majority of credible sources say that Mozart sounds like a box of cinder blocks being thrown into a wood chipper. I don't think I should listen to him now...
    dsperez88
    You know what I mean when I say "google it." God, you're such a ****ing troll. OK bro! :
    jay3213
    As a kid I loved this band, and i'll admit there are some songs I still enjoy.. but I mean.. if you're going to name your album that, at least "save" rock and roll instead of write pop songs
    raininblood321
    its so sad to see such a good band **** up so bad and decide to blend in with the mindless dribble that is the mainstream pop scene.
    Piratejuice
    Lol, I don't remember the last time I've visited a page where there were no dumb, destructive comments.. Hard to grow as a musician when dick heads are telling you all the reasons your music sucks. You're only lying to yourself when you say you dislike a certain band, song, or even a part of a song. Grow the set of nuts you should have grown a long time ago, and stop saying the whole album sucks, because the band ****ing sucks. On top of that, why not listen to the ****ing album before judging it? ... Christ, you people are ****ed.
    matsif
    I heard parts of "My songs know what you did in the dark" on espn and other sports stuff, and decided to check out the rest of the album. Could not finish it, bad decision on my part. Either they don't give a flying shit anymore or enjoy making bad music. Some of their early stuff was at least semi-tolerable, this is just an abomination.
    saint_berzerker
    This might sound pretty good after I get 2 six packs in me and hit downtown. But not right now...sober.
    derdeutsch74
    blah. i only like a few of their songs.. this is just... bad >.< like this ain't a scene its an arms race is catchy, i suppose. and dance, dance, and MAYBE sugar we're going down swinging, but this is just BS!! >.< save rock and roll my a**! ..
    theanswer4
    been a fob fan long before their major debut in 2005 with from under the cork tree.....to me the last 2 albums have been nothing remotely close to what they came up doing. most bands try to become better "muscians" whether physically, mentally or compositionally they have failed in all 3 categories with their last 2 albums. the more poppy you get the less you grow as a "muscian"