Fall Out Boy made good on their promise to “Save Rock And Roll” in their latest release.
“Put on your war paint,” Patrick Stump proclaims on “Phoenix,” the first song on Fall Out Boy’s long-awaited Save Rock and Roll, and it sounds like he means it. It’s a call to arms that sets the pace for the beloved band’s surprising return, and they’ve come ready to battle, with 11 hard-charging songs and a bevy of guests. The album is streaming now via the band’s SoundCloud, along with a note from Fall Out Boy explaining what went into its creation:
“this album is one that is particularly close to us. we recorded it in secret from the music industry, critics, and even our fans. an artists first record sounds the way it does because it is often made without expectations. this is not our first record. but because of the way we went about making this one in the shadows it is with out a doubt the first record in a new chapter of fall out boy. we made this music for ourselves and no one else at the end of the day. this is meant be played loud, with the windows down on summer nights,” they wrote. Read the rest here.
We took a listen to the record (which you’re probably already rushing over to hear now if you haven’t already) to see whether or not Fall Out Boy’s going to save rock and roll after all. Let’s hope so!
Read our track-by-track review of Fall Out Boy’s Save Rock and Roll after the jump.
1.) “Phoenix”: The prequel to “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up)” comes out of the gate swinging with martial-sounding strings, and Stump’s staccato vocal rhythm setting the tone. A brief lull before the chorus and they’re launching full-on into a dance-ready beat that you can probably expect to hear remixed for club-going purposes any minute now.
2.) “My Songs Know What You Did In the Dark (Light Em Up): We never did quite find out what we supposedly did in the dark (maybe 2 Chainz knows), but we’re willing to overlook any quandaries here because this anthemic track (and the album’s first single) is so easy to get lost in. “My Songs Know” is the most rock-forward number, with screeching guitar lines and thundering drum hits, not to mention some powerful gang vocals, all filtered through a hip-hop inflected style. It’s a blending of styles that the band has become known for since their days as straight forward pop-punk.
3.) “Alone Together”: After all the aggression and pugilistic lyrics on the first two tracks, this one pulls things back for a more sensitive approach. “I don’t know where you’re going but do you have room for one more troubled soul,” Stump asks. It’s a more pop-friendly approach than we’re accustomed to, but even this seemingly more reserved track is bolstered by an army of background vocals. What? Armies of love are a thing, too.
4.) “Where Did the Party Go”: Now that they’ve gotten fighting and loving out of the way, the next logical step here is a big party, and the most prominent bass line yet takes the lead along with galloping drums on the verse that open up into a disco-tinged explosion. “Oh, where did the party go? We ended it on the phone” Stump sings on the ebullient chorus, before settling back into the groove. Here’s another one that seems ripe for dance remixes.
5.) “Just One Yesterday” (featuring Foxes): The most pensive track so far, this one finds Stump pining for love gone sour. “I’d trade all my tomorrows for just one yesterday,” he sings in duet with Louis Rose Allen of Foxes. “Anything you say will be held against you, so please say my name.” This is decidedly a vocal track, with the instrumentation taking a backseat to their voices. “If I spill my guts, the world would never look at you the same way,” Allen croons in a lovely turn.
6.) ’The Mighty Fall” (featuring Big Sean): A mid-tempo stomper, this track again lets soaring vocals take center stage over a clattering rhythm. Big Sean pops in halfway through with a cockily lovelorn rap verse. “Hell yeah girl I’m a d*** — I’m addicted to you,” he rhymes. Even the mighty fall in love, the song says. This isn’t our favorite track on here, but it’s a nice diversion.
7.) “Miss Missing You”: Taking another genre left turn, “Miss Missing You” is built around a bubbling synth line that pushes against a relatively understated drum line, which pulls the track back from the edge. Like “Just One Yesterday,” this one is about lost love. “Baby you were my picket fence, I’m miss missing you,” Stump sings. It’s about getting hurt by the one who can save you. Who can’t relate to that?
8.) “Death Valley”: “Death Valley” stacks Save Rock And Roll’s accumulated parts into one whole, with quieter acoustic sections, heavily distorted vocals, pounding drums, dance beats, and some dirty guitar riffing. “I wanna see your animal side. Let it all out.” The animal in this case is a hybrid rock-mutant beast. Scary!
9.) “Young Volcanoes”: In an album full of shout-along, aggressive gang vocals, this track takes on a more intimate, reflective tone. Accompanied by sharp acoustic strums, Stump’s trilling vocals ask, “Do you wanna feel a little beautiful, baby?” as powerful foot-stomping and hand-clapping percussion carry the track along.
10.) “Rat A Tat” (featuring Courtney Love): “It’s Courtney, bitch,” Courtney Love snarls before launching into a rant here about… something or other. The album’s two themes of love and war come together here, which fits right into Love’s wheelhouse — she knows a thing or two about both (and Britney Spears, apparently).
11.) “Save Rock and Roll” (featuring Elton John): The album closer is a piano-led track, which is appropriate, given the other high-profile guest here. Elton John joins Stump in tandem here on a rowing, slowed-down ballad replete with mournful strings, and more room-filling drum effects. It’s yet another love song, but the object of the band’s affection here isn’t a person; it’s rock and roll itself.
+ Listen to Fall Out Boy’s Save Rock And Roll.
Photo credit: Island Records