Another great progression from FOB, however it may leave fans of their earlier albums disappointed
Having set the bar high for themselves after their previous comeback release Save Rock and Roll, Fall Out Boy have taken another step in a new direction with their latest release. American Beauty/American Psycho is a perfect depiction of Fall Out Boy’s insistence on growing and developing as a band, along with the music industry itself.
Entering the music scene in 2003 with Take This to Your Grave, the Chicago group hit peak pop-punk popularity in May 2005 with the release of their sophomore album From Under the Cork Tree. The follow up Infinity on High showed their first development in sound, leading toward more mainstream popularity and a number one album in the USA. After the release of their fourth album Folie a Deux, a musical variety pack, a hiatus was taken. Their return four years later with Save Rock and Roll signaled another step forward, working with a variety of artists such as Elton John and Big Sean to produce a record which went straight to number one in the USA. Having had all of their albums to date reach at least Gold status in the UK and America, which is an incredible achievement, proves that their desire to develop cannot be understated.
The record opens with a hook played by a chorus of brass instruments on the track ‘Irresistible’. This opening sound builds up a regal image, as if to roll out the red carpet for the rock royalty that Fall Out Boy are. The instantly catchy tune isn’t overcomplicated, and has a gritty edge that is continued throughout the album. The upbeat energy follows through onto the title track ‘American Beauty/American Psycho’, which really displays the full range of Patrick Stump’s voice as he switches between his fast paced pseudo-rapping and soulful crooning. However the song does stray into the repetitive nature that is prevalent in today’s pop music, and I’m not sure this is entirely intentional. The third song is one that everyone should know, as it was the first single released from the album. ‘Centuries’ is a perfect example of pop rock and the new Fall Out Boy again led by Stump’s strong vocals.
‘The kids aren’t alright’ offers an opportunity to catch your breath before being hit by the massively upbeat ‘Uma Thurman’ which samples the theme from classic television show The Munsters. The band are said to have genuinely asked for permission to use the actress’ name in their hit, which reference’s the iconic scene from Pulp Fiction. This song has been quietly successful, already earning a remix from future touring partner Wiz Khalifa.
The latter half of the album is almost a comedown from the high energy it opens with, only ‘Novacaine’ bearing all the intensity of the early tracks. Stump’s soulful voice is on much better display in the latter half of the album, as it moves forward from the arena rock styled hits, common in the earlier songs. Title track from Disney’s Big Hero 6, ‘Immortals’ is slotted in near the end to bring some sort of final energy to the listener.
Overall the album is a great stand-alone, energetic, pop-rock offering. However fans of Fall Out Boy’s earlier stuff would certainly feel some disappointment toward American Beauty/American Psycho, and their newest sound.
American Beauty/American Psycho is out now via Island Records.