Album Review: American Beauty/American Psycho by Fall Out Boy

by thethreepennyguignol

As the oldest of old-school FOB fans, I’m always a little bit pumped about a new Fall Out Boy release. I’ll admit that I wasn’t that taken with Save Rock and Roll, their pointedly audacious, dubstep-happy comeback album from a few years back. American Beauty/American Psycho promised to step back a bit further into their fifth album, Folie a Deux territory, and I was excited about it (so excited that I forgot that it had come out for a whole week, because some part of me is determined that my scene kid days are behind me).

And, look: I like this. I’ve needed a good, dirty injection of pop-electronic-rock since MCR split up, and Fall Out Boy seemed to have sprouted tentacles, synthesizers and self-awareness since I listened to them last. I mean, take the title track: second on the album, I was blown away by just how unbelievably…well, good this track was. Patrick Stump was always the main attraction of this band to anyone who didn’t think Pete Wentz was the fittest thing in a floppy fringe, and this album is his masterwork, diving headfirst into utter, irredeemable ridiculousness with an engaging enthusiasm and throatier, spikier delivery that suits the jaded pop-rock of AB/AP so well.

On it’s first listen, I would say that this album probably has the most defined songs than any other Fall Out Boy album I’ve listened to. Most of their albums take a few listens to really take apart in your head, and the songs have a habit of running into each other like so much wet paint. Here, there are definite differences between stadium-filler single Centuries and indie-oil-slick The Kids Aren’t Alright. As with almost every album I’ve ever listened to, the pucnhier songs do it for me, so the sleazy, poppy riffs of Uma Thurman and the up-and-down jolt of Novocaine are the standouts as far as I’m concerned.

Look, I sincerely want to be well out of my scene kid phase. But I’m not. I’m twenty years old, and I have spiky purple hair and skinny jeans and a lust for piercings that can’t be sated. And this album appeals to me on that level. It’s not perfection, but it’s already tempted me into another listen with some real showers to keep me around for the growers, with the title track already sneaking on to repeat. This is the comeback I wanted: it’s forcibly punched it’s way through the critical parts of my brain into the bit that doesn’t feel musical snobbery, and I love it.

Quick-Fire Review

Out of Ten: Wildly varies depending on what song I’m listening to, but a sound 7.5.

In a Sentence: If someone were smashing you round the face with a guitar and reading you snippets of rejected Brett Easton Ellis novels while you were tripping on acid, it would sound pretty similar to this.

Best Songs: American Beauty/American Psycho, Novocaine, Uma Thurman, Fourth of July

Worst Songs: Favourite Record, Irresistible