Monday, September 23

Album Review: ‘American Beauty/American Psycho’


(Courtesy of Island Records)

(Courtesy of Island Records)


“American Beauty/American Psycho”

Fall Out Boy

Island Records

4 paws

In a mixture of peaceful and crazy lyrics and beats, Fall Out Boy meets the expectations that its latest album name, “American Beauty/American Psycho,” sets up – the sound alternates between angelic and psychotic.

Fall Out Boy has returned to the alternative style with its sixth studio album, “American Beauty/American Psycho.” Fall Out Boy challenges itself and moves forward as a band by solidifying itself back in its original punk roots.

The band pushes itself forward and intertwines the sweet with pure fury. The title track of the album executes this in the first few lines and the beats alternate between smooth melodies and fast-paced choruses with seething lyrics.

“Twin Skeleton’s (Hotel in NYC)” carries on the same anger, as frontman Patrick Stump throws himself entirely into the lyrics, losing himself in the frenzy, and though he keeps his same sound, he causes audiences to wonder if this is really the same band who created “Dance, Dance” nearly 10 years ago. A long solo from the electric guitar tops off the wrathful energy.

“A birth and a death on the same day/ And honey I only appear so I can fade away/ I wanna throw my hands in the air and scream/ And I can just die laughing on your spiral of shame,” Stump sings.

Along these same lines, “Novocaine” immediately creates an angry vibe as the band members’ voices mingle together with the bass and the drums in a synthesized, forceful “Na na na nana.” Coupled with the hard and purposeful sounds, the track builds into a resounding crescendo of numbing pain that immediately punches listeners in the gut.

“I said one day the bell is gonna swallow me whole/ I feel like a photo that’s been overexposed,” Stump sings.

On the other side of the spectrum is the powerful “Jet Pack Blues,” which lacks the anger and resorts to a slower, more melancholic melody for the majority of the song. Most of “Jet Pack Blues” could compare to Coldplay’s soft rock and synth piano, but it is swallowed by the contrasting punk yell of the chorus.

“She’s in a long black coat tonight/ Waiting for me in the downpour outside/ She’s singing ‘Baby come home’ in a melody of tears/ While the rhythm of the rain keeps time,” Stump sings.

Fall Out Boy is also more fearless than before in layering and mixing in its new album. “Centuries” opens with Suzanne Vegas’ “Tom’s Diner” before breaking into a cry of “Remember me,” which mixes up the song with juxtaposing rhythms. “Uma Thurman” is layered with the theme song of the 1960s television series “The Munsters” in a peppy surfer punk way that only Fall Out Boy can pull off. In naming the track after the actress, complete with the punk surfer sound, the band alludes to Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill, while infusing the song with a Tarantino kick-butt theme.

Continuing this trend is the song “Immortals,” written for the 2014 movie “Big Hero 6,” which opens with a Japanese whistling flute and breaks into a motivating and empowering rhythm. With its heavy bass drops, it appropriately draws to mind images of superheroes fighting villains. Although the lyrics are a little repetitive, the chorus is fast paced with a pumped-up beat. The band veers away from the punk, but still stays within the alternative rock realm.

“I’m bad behavior but I do it in the best way/ I’ll be the watcher (watcher) of the eternal flame/ I’ll be the guard dog of all your fever dreams,” Stump sings.

Fall Out Boy has certainly grown as a band, as it has retained its punk sound, but experimented in new ways with its energy and anger to create a more mature sound. The band veers away from the head-banging tunes of rebellious teens into the cultured territory of developed music. The songs strike deeper into the soul, yet there remains that playful flirtation with innocence that makes the ridiculous not only attainable but also successful.

– Alicia Sontag

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