Fall Out Boy, one of rock music’s biggest bands is back after a four year hiatus with Save Rock and Roll. After 2009’s Folie a Deux got mixed reactions from fans, the group decided to take a break and regroup. As a result we get Save Rock and Roll, which was secretly recorded in Venice, California just in case the group decided not to release the record. Typical of the last two Fall Out Boy albums, this new record seems to be more about quantity than quality and less about good music and musicianship. The opening track, “The Phoenix” is an in your face song which proves the band still has skill. The thing that stands out of the most as it does on every Fall Out Boy record is Patrick Stump’s voice, the group’s lead guitarist and vocalist. Having one of the best voices in the pop punk genre, Stump’s larger than life voice stands out, going from soulful and bluesy to high and powerful.
The album’s lead single “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up)”, is focused on production and a rock star attitude that has taken over the band’s music in recent years. Completely unmemorable, “My Songs…” does nothing for the band musically. The tune which is musically a mess right from the start includes female vocals singing “fire” during the chorus which detracts from the songs rock and roll feel that the band was going for. Songs such as “Where Did the Party” would be a strong contender for a future single, as the beat locks the listener in and the chorus of “na na na’s” make for a strong sing along. “Just One Yesterday” has a bluesy groove in part because of Patrick’s soulful voice, which has a calming effect despite its electronic music vibe.
Another thing that is noticeable on this record is the lack of creative and long song titles as well as inventive lyrics which has always been a Fall Out Boy staple, and sadly this record has none of that. Bland and unimaginative, the titles say almost nothing about the songs, as the long titles, gave the songs personality. There are several guest appearances on the record include Foxes and Courtney Love, who appear on “Just One Yesterday” and Rat A Tat.” While the Foxes appearance is a strong one and complements the songs’ relaxed jazz feel, Courtney Love sounds horrible, and detracts from the noise that makes up the song and her introduction “I’m Courtney, bitch”, is pompous and unnecessary.
While Fall Out Boy remains as popular as they did back in 2009, Save Rock and Roll is the group’s worst effort, and they are better musicians than this dismal record displays. While Save Rock and Roll has gotten a positive response so far, long time fans may feel differently since the bands old sound is gone entirely. Maybe Fall Out Boy should have kept this latest record a secret after all.