Fall Out Boy – American Beauty/American Psycho
Review by Joanna Cosgrove
Contrary to what a certain eyeliner-wearing man exclaimed all those years ago, emo is not over. How do I know? Because here comes punk disciples Fall Out Boy with another record full of hits, each differing brilliantly from the last. All from the celebratory opening of energy-surging Irresistible, to the beautiful closing Twin Skeleton’s are tracks to be blasting for all occasions throughout 2015. Parties – yes. Raves – duh. Alone in your room creating a one-man riot – bet your sweet ass.
It was September last year when we gathered the hint of a new record in the form of the track Centuries. Following its first play on BBC Radio 1, the first revealed music video – filmed with the app Hyperlapse – debuted to the rest of the world what these four punk nuts had in store for us.
Within the rest of the diminishing year, they were unveiling more, including title track American Beauty/American Psycho – which brought me the old-school Fall Out Boy sense of awesomely long titles – and that was when we knew what we’d be dealing with in the new year. The track was fast-paced, each note racing through the listener’s veins… This was a new era in punk, and of course, the leaders were this pop-punk foursome, flag in hand. Well, in Pete’s.
Punk fans aren’t the only ones excited for the release; it seemed the guys were also as days prior to the album’s release, they decided to show off all songs that were yet released. This gave everyone, including myself an exclusive listen before having the album in hand, and I will be honest: I loved what I was hearing.
Before I even held the beautiful case in my hands, I knew what uniquely outstanding tracks graced the plastic inside it. It was diverse; it was a studio-made variety show, so yes. This was true Fall Out Boy.
If I had to choose my personal highlights from this album, as difficult as it honestly was, my top choice at this moment of writing – might have changed, I am always changing mentally – is the newest single to be released, Uma Thurman. I love this track for its catching guitar progression, and lead singer Patrick Stump’s accuracy on hitting the notes, matching the beats, sparking the flames… But also, the story behind its title.
This is a weird reason to enjoy a song, but I’m like that. It brings back memories of previous tracks, similarly titled, and I let out a small laugh when the track listing was first released because I knew I was going to enjoy that song. One pre-hiatus track it reminded me of was the Folie a Deux track She’s My Winona, as it was the underline of the lyrics that spoke about the celebrity involved. That classic case was Winona Ryder, and now, main lyricist Pete Wentz is showing his admiration for the Pulp Fiction actress and her dance moves. Both of which, funnily enough, he recently revealed he had crushes on. Alright, things are a little clearer now…
Another track I have to love through and through was the first non-single previewed, The Kids Aren’t Alright. This song broke the rule of the regular Fall Out Boy track: nothing angry, nothing superior, nothing dominating in its melody. It was a true ballad, following suit to the new formula for songs on AB/AP, but it leaped out. It was told to be a favourite among the band, and I can hear why…
It is a beautiful track, which is only achieved when written by a beautiful soul – having four to put their past traumas and troubles in the weaving of the track created a song that can speak to those thrown-down teenagers who need someone to pick them up, dust them off, and push them into the empty future to encourage them to succeed. This is what the members mean when they say they “write for the outcasts”; how there are people writing about the popular kids partying and the successful ones reaching their goals. Teenagers need that band to speak to the rebellious, lonesome, and overlooked side of them. Enter Fall Out Boy, at their modernised deepest with what I hear as the musical offspring of Folie a Deux’s What A Catch, Donnie.
The last song I’ll mention is another favourite, Jet Pack Blues. I’ll be honest and say that this song is close to indescribable. I feel it is one of those tracks that in the minds of the artistic, could paint an image of too many emotions: loneliness in the words, bravery in the beat, confidence in the melody. I can imagine if it was chosen for a single; the video would probably be full of powerful imagery, heart-stopping effects and would be one for the ages.
The track is unskippable – not a real word, but bear with me – and one for that slow-down in a party scene. It’s that stylised ballad that you know will get a whole arena full of fans swaying and crooning along; I hope it will be so when I myself see them in October. It would be a serious mistake to not include this in the tour setlist, as I am sure it is a quick fan favourite. Jet Pack Blues is 2015’s Headfirst Slide, but I’m sure it will never end up like it.
What else is there to say but, emo is back and let’s bust out the band tees and combat boots (not like we ever put them away…)
This is our second coming of Cork Tree, one decade on, when we can bring in the new wave of Overcast Kids to join with the old-schoolers. Very few tracks can be skipped, incredibly few can be hated; backlash from older fans is to be expected, as there was with 2013’s Save Rock and Roll, but the overall criticism agrees.
Change is welcome, and punk is never gonna die as long as we’ve got Fall Out Boy leading the genre to victory.