First Impressions: I Miss Fall Out Boy’s Clever Song Titles, but Save Rock & Roll Is Still Pretty Good

Fall Out Boy records, clockwise from top left: Take This To Your Grave (2003), From Under the Cork Tree (2005), Infinity On High (2007), Folie a Deux (2008), and Save Rock & Roll (2013)

“Do you think Fall Out Boy has sold out?” a friend asked me as we walked down the street of our inconsequential California town.

I said no, and gave a huge shpiel about how if they sold out, it’s our fault, because consumers these days just want to hear what’s on the radio, and it’s a damn shame that rock stars just can’t keep up anymore.

I’d like to change my answer. Do I think Fall Out Boy sold out? Kind of. I am a little teeny tiny microscopic not- enough- to- make- much- of- a- difference- or- keep- me- from- buying- things disappointed in Fall Out Boy’s new record. But only because they called it Save Rock and Roll. The album doesn’t actually save rock & roll, it drives another nail into rock’s coffin. It’s more pop than rock and uses more synthesizers and keyboards and drum machines than a rock record should. It’s full of hooks and catchy choruses and all of today’s most popular beats. All the song titles are actually words found in the songs. But hey. That’s not a bad thing, right?

I don’t see it so much as selling out as keeping up. I feel as if all the popular genres of the 21st century duked it out for the sound of today. Electronica, hip- hop, and indie came out on top, leaving the emo/ rock bands of the mid 2000’s in the dust. Rock bands had to sell out or fade into obscurity. Our fault, not theirs.

I had hoped Fall Out Boy’s new record would bring about a rock revival. When I heard the first couple tracks, and the album title, I expected a disc full of good old- fashioned guitar riffs, organic drum sounds, the occasional screamo bridge, and Pete Wentz’s self- depreciating yet reassuring lyrics. I expect their arena show to be a riotous beer- soaked throwback to the hand- rocking days of Bon Jovi or AC/DC, who declined to license their likeness for Save Rock And Roll‘s cover. I want pyrotechnics. Not jumbotrons.

Lucky, Fall Out Boy have an entire discography of hard- rocking jams to pad their set list, including songs From Under The Cork Tree, the 2005 album that put them on the map. So I’m not worried about the show. And I love Save Rock And Roll. You can’t make the same music forever, and the record provides and exciting change of pace for Fall Out Boy. I just hope this means they don’t wait a hundred million years before releasing another record.

Full review coming soon.


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