Fall Out Boy has finally emerged from their self-imposed exile with as much of their classic fire and trademark witty lyricism as they had when they drifted behind the curtains of the music industry. It’s been five years since the release of their last album, Folie à Deux, and while their sound has changed since we last heard from them, Save Rock and Roll is still classic Fall Out Boy with a pop-infused twist. The hiatus is finally over, and in my opinion, it has certainly been worth the wait.
The album opens with “The Phoenix,” a super-charged anthem of rebellion and rebirth that serves as a symbol of their new sound rising from the ashes of their past musical ventures. The album continues with its summer anthem grandeur and gives us one of the catchiest choruses we’ll hear this year, in the song, “Where Did the Party Go.” The summer song trend continues with, “Miss Missing You,” “Death Valley,” and “Young Volcanoes.” Fall Out Boy has made something that is entirely for themselves, as well as for their loyal fans, and this is apparent throughout the album. They are no longer the angry 18 year old boys playing songs about girls and Saturdays in their garage; the Fall Out Boys are now Fall Out Men, and their music style has matured along with the band members themselves.
The one place where Save Rock and Roll falters is with its guest collaborations. Rapper Big Sean’s feature in “The Mighty Fall” is both unnecessary and detrimental to what would have been a standout track without it. A semi-coherent Courtney Love is featured on the track “Rat-a-Tat,” along with electronic artist Foxes on “Just One Yesterday”; both songs fit somewhat with their collaborators, but seem to get lost in the theatrics and commanding sound of the rest of the album.
The only instance where collaboration improves the track is the emotion-stirring, titular ballad “Save Rock and Roll,” featuring Sir Elton John. The track closes the album with both a heart-raising key change and Patrick Stump leading an infectious chant: “Oh no, we won’t go / ‘Cause we don’t know when to quit.” Speaking as a longtime Fall Out Boy fan, I am very glad of that.