On January 20th, 2015, Fall Out Boy released American Beauty/American Psycho. Just like Save Rock And Roll, the album that represented the end of their five-year hiatus, AB/AP is definitely more of a pop album, very similar to SRAR in a lot of ways.
To be honest, I liked Save Rock And Roll as a concept album. I think it represented a drastic change between 2008 Folie à Deux F.O.B. and the post hiatus feeling the band adopted, and I respected that. But part of me wondered if I was too old to like Fall Out Boy anymore. I loved 2005 Patrick Stump yelling, “I swear I’d burn this city down to show you the light,” while Pete Wentz made headlines with his eccentric guyliner and scandalous cellphone pictures.
When Save Rock And Roll came out, I had to force myself to listen to it several times before I could admit it had its good points despite having much more linear lyrics and a pop-oriented sound. I wasn’t incredibly comfortable with the band’s gravitation away from the emo/pop-punk music scene after so many years of knowing what to expect from them. I didn’t have to do nearly as much work with this album. American Beauty/American Psycho definitely represents a more masterful grasp of their new sound, while it also incorporates a lot of older symbolism and experimentation I grew to love in middle school.
“Irresistible” opens the album with hints of F.O.B.’s old sound mixed with softer vocals and relatively tame guitar riffs. I’m not sure it was the best song to list as the first track. It’s a generally good track but doesn’t really match the feeling of the rest of the album, which steadily builds the longer it goes on. That is the main issue with this release. It’s carried by several key tracks, while others fall short – not by much, but just enough to be noticeable.
Every F.O.B. album has that one slow jam, the almost-ballad. On AB/AP it’s “The Kids Aren’t Alright.” I experienced a weird version of nostalgia listening to Stump sing, “Fall to your knees, bring on the rapture, blessed be the boys time can’t capture,” after spending so many years hearing lyrics about how they were going to be forgotten. It characterizes this album as one of not only musical evolution but personal evolution within the band members as well.
One of the more powerful moments of the album is expressed through the song “Novocaine” in which Fall Out Boy really pushes Stump’s abilities. Not only does he reach new pitch levels that we haven’t really been exposed to before, but they open with heavier guitar/synth riffs making the songs not only one of the most impressively dance-oriented songs on the album, but also one of the boldest tracks in their entire discography.
I don’t think I’m ever going to be too old for Fall Out Boy. While Save Rock And Roll reintroduced the band as a more polished project, American Beauty/American Psycho marks them taking their place among today’s pop contemporaries. It’s raw power and industrial jungle pop sound (yes, I made that genre up, but I promise it fits) place AB/AP as not only a monument in Fall Out Boy history but also a representation of the cementation of the band’s rightful place in music history.
Album Rating: 8.5/10
Favorite Tracks: “Uma Thurman,” “Novocaine,” “Jet Pack Blues”