A little over two years ago, I fell in love with Fall Out Boy. But let’s rewind a bit. As I said in my review of the last Fall Out Boy album, Save Rock and Roll, I was a hater for many years. Slowly, Fall Out Boy trickled their way into my heart, becoming one of my favorite bands with Save Rock and Roll.
Since I wrote that review, I’ve relistened to the majority of their older work and, to be honest, it just still doesn’t hold up. As a pop punk band, Fall Out Boy were lost in a sea of similar scene superstars. They had some decent songs, but why listen to them when you could just listen to any number of other superior bands who were delving into the same sonic territory?
Since fully embracing their pop influences, Fall Out Boy have come into their own as songwriters and artists, and nowhere is that more evident than on their newest album, American Beauty / American Psycho.
Save Rock and Roll featured Fall Out Boy finding their footing as a true pop rock band, separated from the punk that made them a household name. It was unfocused and a scattershot of inspired ideas that ultimately amounted to a great album with very little cohesiveness.
American Psycho / American Beauty sees Fall Out Boy mixing true artistry into their stellar pop songwriting, cutting out the guests and focusing their intentions into one solid sound. The Fall Out Boy sound is finally condensed to its purest form here.
For my own part, I was worried before this record came out. Yes, “Centuries” was an epic track to lead off the album cycle, but as it became increasingly overplayed at every sporting event that took place last year, I seriously wondered if Fall Out Boy could live up to their own hype.
Instead, they exceeded it. “Centuries” was just a solid pop track, like any number of them from Save Rock and Roll. But American Beauty / American Psycho‘s true appeal comes through when Fall Out boy are getting artsy with it.
Similarly, “Twin Skeleton’s (Hotel in NYC),” the closing track of the album, runs through both pop hooks and yet such interesting delivery and instrumentation that it’s obvious Fall Out Boy has the capacity for grandiosity and pomp so lacking from modern pop songwriting. That is what will ultimately set them apart in years to come.
American Beauty / American Psycho is perhaps the greatest success of the band’s career, and it comes at a time when by all rights they should be slipping into nostalgia act territory. The band’s interesting resurrection, the second life which has cemented their legacy as one of our generation’s leading pop rock acts, which will ultimately land them squarely in the well as classic rock in 20 years time, will become one of the greatest comeback stories in the history of music.
Who knows what the future holds for Fall Out Boy. I doubted they had more than one great album in them, and instead they topped themselves. Could they go for three? It’s hard to say. What is for sure right now is that their latest effort is absolutely one of the greatest record releases of 2015.