Saturday, 13 April 2013

Fall Out Boy - Save Rock And Roll

Words can't begin to describe my excitement when Fall Out Boy announced on their social media on Monday that they were releasing their new album early on YouTube and SoundCloud. Monday? That can't be right, it feels like I've been listening to this album for most of my life, the lyrics are already etched into my memory. 
This band can do no wrong in my eyes, after a decade of singing along to every note, I couldn't care less if Pete Wentz whacked his willy against the mic for 3 minutes, I'd still listen to it.
I'm insanely curious about which track Joe Trohman claimed to make him cry when he first heard it completed, so if anyone knows which one, I'd be grateful to know, but my bet's on Save Rock And Roll.
So in celebration of its early release, I'll go through and review track-by-track just as I always do. Of course, there are highs and there are most definitely lows, so stay tuned!

The Phoenix - I've also rambled about this one in a previous Playlist For The Week post, but in short, this track encapsulates what Fall Out Boy has always been about, and this is a perfect track to open the album with.
You're wearing our vintage misery, no, I think it looked a little better on me.

My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light 'Em Up) feat. 2 Chainz - I'm sure you've already read my ridiculously extensive review of this song here, so I won't repeat it. But in summary if you haven't read it - I LOVE THIS. Such a brilliant first release from an album we'd been waiting four years for.
Burn everything you love then burn the ashes. 
In the end, everything collides, my childhood spat back out the monster that you see.

Alone Together - This is what I was waiting for - a beautifully catchy summer anthem. This track makes me wish I had a car so I could drive off into the sunset blasting this from the speakers. This is most definitely one of my favourites off the album. Everything about it is so Fall Out Boy, the message of power in the face of adversity.
I don't know where you're going, but do you got room for one more troubled soul?

Where Did The Party Go? - So many na-na-nas, it could even be MCR. The verses here remind me of old school FOB circa Take This To Your Grave but the bridge and chorus are something refreshingly new, embracing the club kind of scene that pop punk as a genre has welcomed in recent years. There's still the distinct FOB theme though, the self-doubting lyrics, the remorse.
Let's fade away together, one dream at a time.

Just One Yesterday - The featuring singer Foxes is actually from a city near me and not much older than me either! If only I had talent, it could be me on a FOB album. I'm not envious at all. But her contribution is beautiful, I wouldn't have expected FOB to collaborate with a singer that's so different to their style, but she fits in wonderfully. I love this band just a little more for the use of the cheesiest chat-up line in a song - 'anything you say can and will be held against you, so only say my name', really Pete? You thought you'd get away with that one? I love how this song combines the typical emotional grief we come to associate with FOB and their over-confident alter-ego that tries its luck with anything that walks. I'm trying so hard to work out whose voice Patrick is imitating in the verses, I'm guessing a deeper version of Elvis, but nevertheless it suits him down to the ground.
If heaven's grief brings hell's rain, then I'll trade all my tomorrows for just one yesterday.

The Mighty Fall feat Big Sean - Am I the only one that expected a Nightmare Before Christmas-esque track from the opening jingle bells? I'll admit this is one that's fallen off my radar while playing the album since it came out. No offence to 'Big Sean', but this ain't no 'Thriller', it just seems to hip-hop for my liking. I commend FOB for keeping their electric guitars competing in the background, but the bass drum drives me mental. It just doesn't seem to have as much structure as FOB are known for. I wouldn't surprise if the band drop this song from their gig setlists.
Cause you think your only crime is that you got caught.

Miss Missing You - This is such a relate-able ballad once you see past the opening which is definitely not traditional Fall Out Boy, but as I keep saying, this is a natural progression for a pop-punk band and it grew on me the moment I first heard it. This is definitely a favourite of mine, not only for the completely relevant lyrics which I've always loved about FOB but also the catchiness and the clashing optimistic beat which I can't help tapping my fingers to. Honorable mention (kudos to anyone who got this reference) goes to the last 20 seconds, closing off an upbeat song with a morose sentiment that reminds me of 'Golden' from Infinity On High.
The person that you'd take a bullet for is behind the trigger.

Death Valley - Very pop, that's how I can describe the opening to this track, but the lyrics try hard to keep Fall Out Boy's spirit alive. Actually, this track completely embodies MCR's Danger Days album, using the same kind of tricks to work their way into the mainstream market while somehow maintaining their original underground charm. As I've mentioned before, I wasn't the biggest fan of Danger Days, so in turn I'm not the greatest fan of Death Valley, it's not the typical FOB anthem that reaches out to listeners. Or at least it doesn't reach out to me. Especially not the slip into dubstep near the end.
I wanna see your animal side, let it all out, oh there you go, undress to impress.

Young Volcanoes - Oh my, I love the optimism of this, not only because it's breaking FOB's old pessimistic mould, but because it suits their new kind of music so perfectly. You almost feel as if Patrick's sat next to you with an acoustic resting on his knee, it's such an intimate recording. I challenge you to listen to this without tapping your toes, clicking your fingers or at least boogieing in the slightest.
We will teach you how to make boys next door out of assholes.

Rat A Tat Tat feat Courtney Love - Courtney Love makes an appearance, bet you didn't see that one coming eh? Me neither. Now I don't know enough about her to make an informed judgement, because I've only ever seen the episode of The Osbournes where Jack goes round to her house and she's talking absolute heroin-fuelled jibberish. But judging instead by her contribution to this song, my initial impression wasn't far off, although her gravelly approach does fit quite well into this track, she's definitely bringing a Joan Jett theme, which is fine by me. People can criticise this track for being stupidly distant from their old style, but that's a shallow criticism. It's got equal energy to the anthems adorning Folie A Deux, just because the track name isn't as catchy. I raise issue with those who disagree with this album being too different to what FOB are known for - if they produced the same old albums, they'd be thrown straight on the garbage dump. They've grown up, so has the music, and so have we as listeners. But I'll admit this is a song that I could easily get bored of.
We're all fighting growing old in the hopes of a few minutes more.

Save Rock And Roll feat Elton John - Saving the best for last! Hold your breath readers, I could ramble about this one all day. Yes, Rock Sound were right, we waited through 10 tracks to get a keychange, and boy was it worth the wait.
First off, allow me to address the controversy over Elton John's collaboration here. Everyone on Twitter was in complete shock that Elton joined our favourite punks, yet they seem to have conveniently forgotten Elvis Costello's appearance for What A Catch, Donnie. Fall Out Boy are huge outside of our fan circles too, and it's no surprise Elton's jumped on the bandwagon (it's now full so catch another). Don't get me wrong, I couldn't be more grateful he has, because he's contributed to the greatest song on this album and, potentially, Fall Out Boy's entire career.
Chicago Is So Two Years Ago was my favourite track off Take This To Your Grave, and the minute I played Save Rock And Roll and heard the lyrics again, I burst into tears. It instantly brought back the fear I felt when I first heard What A Catch Donnie, the fear that they're saying goodbye through the words they've said before. 'Until your breathing stops forever' should imply that Fall Out Boy will be with us until we die, I can't help but think this is a goodbye. But I'm reassured once I hear Elton's piano trailing its way in, creating the atmosphere for the rest of the tracks.
The lyrics throughout this entire track are haunting and will stay with you, no doubt about it. Not only the words, but Patrick's back to his soulfully emotive singing style that we've always loved, and we're left hanging on every word. The echoes of his voice paint a picture of Patrick sitting in a recording studio singing to himself, his words echoing around him.
I never thought Elton's voice would fit in with Patrick's, but you hear in the bridge just how harmoniously their styles sync together, because we all know they're the greatest male vocalists both at making powerful emotional pleas and at extending notes.
You hear their voices fading away in the closing minute and you can't help but will them to stay. How could it come to an end? Elton's final note is enough to bring me to tears and before I know it, the album's over.
I've picked my ultimate favourite lyric below but only because it applies to me right now, but every single word has become my favourite lyric since the moment I first heard this song. Forget what you already know - this is Fall Out Boy at their best.
I cried tears you'll never see, so f**k you, you can go cry me an ocean, and leave me be.

I've never been taken on such an emotional rollercoaster by an album before. We've started at revenge, snaked through regret and self-doubt, stopped a little longer than expected at energy and optimism, and finished up at Guilt Station.

5 favourite tracks in order?
1. Save Rock And Roll
2. Alone Together.
3. The Phoenix.
4. Miss Missing You.
5. My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light 'Em Up).

Tracks to skip
Death Valley and The Mighty Fall probably, but you have to give them a listen at least once to appreciate that Fall Out Boy has changed, to ignore them would be to ignore the years that have passed since Folie.

Overall Rating - 9/10
I wanted so desperately to give this album a full house, but it's thanks to the rather pop-appealing two tracks I just mentioned that I can't give it full marks. Other than those, however, this album as a whole is completely phenomenal and definitely not what we expected from their return from hiatus, but in all the best ways. I'll definitely be out buying this album when it's released on Monday, because I owe this band my life, and the least I can do is fund any possible future albums. Who knows, my contribution might make the difference between them returning to another hiatus or staying put!

If you haven't already listened in, click here to go to the YouTube playlist.

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