1171 days. That’s how many days Fall Out Boy was on hiatus. That’s how long it took for them to come out with one hell of a bombshell.
Feb. 4, 2013 was a long awaited day for members of the alternative music scene. That was the day I learned why I have trust issues. These men managed to record an entirely new album, plan a national tour, print merchandise and produce a music video without a single word to the public. The album, “Save Rock and Roll,” was slated to be released on May 5 and 6, the exact 10-year anniversary from the band’s debut, “Take This to Your Grave.” However, they graciously decided to forward the date to April 15 and 16, which brings us to now.
The band decided to stream the album on its website last week. I was anxious and excited, but also terrified, to listen. I’d heard three songs before this moment. “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up),” “The Phoenix” and “Young Volcanoes” were all good tracks in their own regards, but I was extremely unsure how they would all meld into a cohesive album. After my first listen-through, I felt like I had been scolded for ever doubting them.
This is not the Fall Out Boy that went on hiatus my freshman year of college. This is not the Fall Out Boy I fell in love with. This is the Fall Out Boy that will change the music scene. The 11-track album follows no umbrella of consistency. The songs, individually, are able to hold their own. No song relies on another to make it “work.”
Starting with “The Phoenix,” the introductory music is an indicator of what’s to come. It’s fast, deep and invokes a sense of danger — and it doesn’t lie. The second track, “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up)” — which is a classic Fall Out Boy title — was the first to be released to the public. The song, while memorable and upbeat, is among the weaker tracks on the album. “Alone Together” and “Where Did the Party Go” are great tracks to follow up the high-energy mantras before them. These two tracks keep up the momentum but aren’t lost in the mix. The fifth song brings guest vocals to the album. “Just One Yesterday” is a more somber song. British artist Foxes adds a powerful female voice to the song, which gives it even more power and depth.
The next song features Big Sean and, to be honest, I have a very hard time taking it seriously. If any song were to be the loner of the album, I’d say “The Mighty Fall” would be it. It’s a fun track, but it lacks the fluidity of the other albums. The rapping part by Big Sean in the middle breaks it up, and it’s hard to get back into the song afterwards. The next two tracks, “Miss Missing You” and “Death Valley,” return to the feeling of “Alone Together.” They’re great songs through and through.
The pinnacle of this album, though, comes with the last three tracks. “Young Volcanoes” reminds me of a song to sing around a campfire or while flying down the interstate with the windows down. This song will easily become a soundtrack to this summer. The tenth song, “Rat a Tat,” features Courtney Love. While it might take a few listens to really get into the song, this song is a powerhouse of emotion and angst. This song is the closest to old Fall Out Boy on the album. The use of gang vocals and the change of tempo throughout the piece make it the second-best song on the album. In a change of pace for the band, they actually have a title track on the album. The final song, “Save Rock and Roll,” features Sir Elton John and is the best closer of all Fall Out Boy albums. The defining lyrics of the song — “You are what you love, not who loves you. In a world full of the word ‘yes,’ I’m here to scream, ‘No’” — represent everything this band stands for. The mixture of Elton John’s and frontman Patrick Stump’s voices make for a song that will go down in history.
Like a line out of a cheesy romance novel, the newest, long-awaited Fall Out Boy album isn’t what I expected, but it’s exactly what I wanted. Fall Out Boy has done more than save rock and roll: they have redefined it.