Fall Out Boy have been enjoying something of a renaissance of late. Since reuniting in late 2012 after a three-year hiatus, they’ve released the pop-infused 2013 album Save Rock And Roll and the hardcore mini-album, PAX AM Days just six months later. Most recently, they’ve announced a string of UK arena shows which begin in October. Now, as the quartet teeter on the brink of the release of their sixth full-length American Beauty/American Psycho, here’s a track-by-track guide for your edification and delight…
**Irresistible **A lush fanfare ushers in album number six as Patrick Stump’s soulful voice sparks into life over a pounding beat. The production is on another level, too, with a bank of synths and electronic rhythms making their presence felt from the off. Joe Trohman and Stump’s guitars have been regulated into to the background on this one, and while this is a bold and emphatic way to open AB/AP, this exploration into fresh territory could leave older fans cold.
**American Beauty/American Psycho **Now, what the hell is going on here? For a first listen, early evidence suggests the band have scrapped their old sound entirely, as an unrelenting Euro-dance beat and constant ‘woah-woah’ chants consume the title track. That said, it’s infectious as hell, but let’s just hope they park this style here and move on.
Centuries The first single released from the album was some four months ago and is one of the strongest moments on AB/AP. The epic intro, with its towering lyrics, make this an instant classic and we wouldn’t be surprised if ends up being used to soundtrack countless wrestling montages. It’s that big. Couple the music with the David and Goliath style video and you get one damn exciting combination. Expect this to be a big, big moment when they play it on their UK arena tour later this year.
The Kids Aren’t Alright The best whistled intro this side of Scorpion’s Wind Of Change flows into a synth-pop verse and a huge chorus, where Patrick’s voice just soars. There’s definitely elements of old FOB here and there, but you can tell that Patrick’s penchant for soul has become stronger in recent years. It’s entirely fair and it would be a shame to restrict his voice in any way, but there are times when AB/AP begins to sounds like a solo project. Almost.
**Uma Thurman ** Oozing character and style, this brooding number kicks in with some quick fire keys that lead into a haunting guitar lick. Full of wicked imagery, the song has a dark heart, but a melody you just can’t resist. The band had to seek approval from the Pulp Fiction actress to use her name, so if she thought it was a goer, then it’s good with us.
Jet Pack Blues Being a rock star doesn’t mean that you’re 100% happy all of the time. This song explores the loneliness that comes with long rides on endless roads, touring from city to city and country to country. This slow track gives Stump further licence to wrap his velvet vocals around its memorable melodies, while Wentz’s thoughtful lyrics complete the package.
Novocaine This song starts off dark and deep with the lyrics, “I am your worst nightmare”, but then gradually blossoms into a urgent beat backed up by a dirty guitar riff. It works far better than the hyper-tempo title track. If it was Fall Out Boy’s intention to create an album full of songs that would ignite dance floors worldwide, then they’ve certainly nailed it – this song is a prime example.
Fourth of July They’ve worked with producers such as J.R Rotem (Rihanna, Lil’ Kim) and SebastiAn (Kanye West, Daft Punk) and their influences can be clearly felt throughout the album. Stump’s melodies soar on this celebratory anthem, which is packed with synths and electronica beats. It’s a shame, though, that drummer Andy Hurley and guitarist Joe Trohman don’t get a chance to shine here, or indeed many other places on this album.
Favorite Record Kicking in with a summery riff, this reflective song warms the soul and makes full use of Fall Out Boy’s affinity for those infectious ‘woah woah’ moments. This song is one of the poppiest on the record and it’s unlikely that most fans would listen to it if it wasn’t a Fall Out Boy song. However, the band are exploring new territory and evolving their sound – it’s the kind of song that will capture their expanded audience’s heart and never let it go again.
Originally released as part of the Disney film Big Hero 6 soundtrack, this song boasts a filthy melody, deep crunching guitars and tribal beats. Immortals is one of the biggest moments on the album and is up there with Centuries, scale-wise. FOB have always had a knack for penning huge choruses, but on AB/AP, they’ve honed it down to a science. A really hummable science.
Twin Skeletons (Hotel in NYC) A fine finale, Twin Skeletons has everything the album stands for encapsulated in one song: big beats, big choruses and big ideas. Once again filled with evocative imagery, Stump’s voice once again shines through and excels when he gets grittier in the verses. There’s so many layers on Twin Skeletons that you’ll notice new things with repeated listens, and with songs as good as this, American Beauty/American Psycho is an album you’ll return to time and time again.