Band’s album fails to rock and roll

By Zachary Burton

Back from its breakup that never was, Fall Out Boy returned to the music scene this year with the single “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark,” the first sample of what its new album “Save Rock and Roll” would hold.

And what better track is there to start the band’s rebirth than a song titled “Phoenix”? The first track from the record explodes in a flurry of strings that would fit best behind Tom Cruise running to dismantle a bomb with just three seconds left. Coincidentally, they also fit well behind the angsty vocals of Patrick Stump. The song utilizes strings and synths but combines them deftly.

“My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark” follows the bird with upbeat energy set off by a women’s chorus and claps that are suspiciously similar to “Power” by Kanye West, making the influence bleed through plainly. Stump belts over a mix of synth and guitar masterfully, showing the break the band took had no effect on his abilities. Unfortunately, aside from only the occasional gnarly guitar line or wail from Stump, this record shares about as many similarities with the genre of rock as does my grandmother’s chair.

Tracks “Where Did the Party Go” and “Just One Yesterday” (featuring Foxes) literally sound like they could be performed by almost any Top 40 artist on the radio, and “The Mighty Fall” walks the tightrope between rock and pop but is pushed wholeheartedly into the pop pit when Big Sean comes in with his hook, as if his arbitrary and random “buoy, buoy” (read “boy”) wasn’t enough. “Miss Missing You” sounds like Tears for Fears in the best way possible, but this album doesn’t do much for the saving of rock and roll.

The record in itself isn’t a bad effort. Every song deserves a head nod or a sway, but this is not rock and roll by any means. It is the same synthesized, compressed vocals we have come to expect from the bands hoarding the airwaves but unfortunately, not what one anticipated to hear from Fall Out Boy. It is the gargantuan claim by this album’s title that frustrates more than the music itself. If you’re going to “save” rock and roll, write rock and roll music. Genres change and twist, but this savior is a stretch.

The CD ends in a squelch, suffering from a bad case of front-loading, with a less-than-pleasant feature by Courtney Love on “Rat A Tat” and a disappointing use of Elton John on the title — and final — track, “Save Rock and Roll.” The record makes a solid comeback for the band but features too many conventions of a genre that isn’t rock to be considered memorable beyond the year.


Must Listens: “Phoenix”

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