Save Rock and Roll Album Review

Review:

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Fall Out Boy gets a lot of hate, for reasons that aren’t entirely clear to me. I’m a music snob to the extent that I think the best classical is better than everything else, but outside of that basic hierarchy, I judge music on how much I like it, not on objective quality. I don’t play an instrument or sing, so I doubt I even know enough about music to judge it based on objective quality, especially when you get down to the nitty gritty details of things like guitar riffs and synth lines. So for all I know, Fall Out Boy does, objectively, suck, but even if they do, I don’t care. I like them.

In particular, I like Patrick Stump, and god, I missed his voice in my ears while they were on hiatus. This album shows it off to good effect, with lots of the soaring, drawn out notes I love. The band’s talent for killer hooks is also on full display. Even the songs I didn’t like as much had a few lines or notes that caught my ear and stuck in my head.

My rating:4 Stars (4 / 5)

Track By Track

The Phoenix – The album gets off to a rollicking good start with this pounding call to arms

My Songs Know What You Did In the Dark – Some things never change, and FOB’s propensity for ridiculously long titles appears to be one of them 🙂 But this was the first song I heard from the new album, and was a definite “hell, yeah!” from the start. Another pounding beat and plenty of those long, soaring notes I love ensured this song an immediate and probably permanent spot in my mental rotation.

Alone Together – Musically, not as earwormy as the first two, but the lyrics are what’s catchy here. Song lyrics are often at their best when they pack a lot of meaning into just a few words and that’s very true here – you could pick any one of half a dozen lines from this song to write about and get a novel out of it, easily. One of my favorites:

Where Did the Party Go – Not my favorite chorus, but a personal song for the band, and some of the other lyrics are memorable, both individually and in the context of their history over the last few years.

Just One Yesterday – This is the best guest turn on the album – Louis Rose Allen’s voice blends beautifully with Patrick’s and there’s an interesting contrast between the vulnerability of her voice and the manipulativeness of what she’s saying.

The Mighty Fall – The first track on the album that I didn’t like. The rap really didn’t add anything to it and the rest of the song is too repetitive

Miss Missing You – A quieter song that seems slightly out of place on this album. It took multiple listens to really register its existence. However, once I finally did, I liked it, especially the evocative line “Sometimes before it gets better, the darkness gets bigger/The person that you’d take a bullet for is behind the trigger.”

Death Valley – I know Joe Trohman had wanted to start playing a bigger role in songwriting for the band and was pleased for him when this song turned out to be such a hit with both fans and critics. I’m not usually a fan of falsetto, but it works well in this genre-blender. At a few points, the song borders on being too busy, but the band manages to keep it together in a cohesive whole.

Young Volcanoes – Not the most memorable in lyrics or melody, but this song carries you along as pleasantly as a swift-moving river on a sunny summer day.

Rat A Tat – Ties with The Mighty Fall for my least favorite song on the album. Like The Mighty Fall, it has a guest turn (Courtney Love) that really doesn’t add much, and the rest of the song is too repetitive.

Save Rock and Roll – Better than The Mighty Fall or Rat A Tat, but it’s too busy, the lyrics are overwrought (and not in a good way), and Elton John’s voice blends better at some points than others. Kind of a disappointing conclusion to an otherwise pretty darn good album, but thanks to the wonders of the skip button, I just go straight from Young Volcanoes to The Phoenix and that works just fine.

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