Album Review: American Beauty/American Psycho

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Fall Out Boy fans will be happy to hear the band is far from hiatus. With the new release of their album, American Beauty/American Psycho, the band is more active than ever. They’ve made splashes with their single, “Centuries,” and now come full force with their sixth album.

“Irresistible” opens with a type of sports anthem sound and quickly feeds into the harder sounds that have come to characterize Fall Out Boy. It feels a little generic because of this, and perhaps not the best hook for the album. There are some clever quips, however, like “I give my lover a four letter name,” and Patrick Stump’s vocals are spot on as ever.

“American Beauty/American Psycho” has a catchy undertone and the quick intro of “ohs” definitely draws you in. The lines are still a bit harsh, but it’s so energetic that it carries you right along.

“The Kids Aren’t Alright” has a foreboding title and a calmer sound. It’s a thought-provoker that have become part of the FOB repertoire such as “Miss Missing You” and “Disloyal Order of Water Buffaloes.” It has a steady beat, but the more muted guitar tones are what attract me, drawing attention to Stump’s vocals and more of the meaning of the song.

Another single, “Uma Thurman,” follows, and I’m still a bit thrown off by the choice of inspiration. Still, the song is reminiscent of an old spy show’s theme song which makes it stand out. It’s fun and another classic FOB song where you can just tell there are things Stump is saying that you are not getting right.

The highlight of “Jet Pack Blues” is the piano in the beginning, even if it does get lost to guitar later in the song. The pick up of the acoustic towards the end is also standout. The lyrics are repetitive and not particularly special, but the instrumentals deserve note.

“Novocaine” is another harsh track at the outset, but the bridge and chorus are catchy. It sounds a lot like “The Phoenix” from Save Rock and Roll, though I do love the addition of the vulture to the bird metaphors.

“Fourth of July” has a newer sound and great lyrics incorporating the image of fireworks. Stump’s voice is emotional and raw, though I don’t see this as much of a concert or dancing song.

“Favorite Record” is unique, as well. It’s got all the elements of a great FOB song: catchy beat, obvious instrumental and vocal talent, and lyrics that are clear yet metaphorical, setting them apart.

“Immortals” is another previous release, originally for the film, Big Hero 6. It’s catchy and a bit smoother than the other tracks on the album. It’s underlying beat is also more in line with mainstream pop, perhaps an effect of the song’s soundtrack nature.

The concept and lyrics of “Twin Skeleton’s (Hotel in NYC)” are what stand out about this song. The drums are strong, again bringing out a certain harshness. The “ohs” towards the middle of the song also make it reminiscent of Panic! At The Disco’s sound.

For any Fall Out Boy fan, it is a given that you must listen to their newest album. Yet after a several listens, I was still not completely sold on the new songs. Perhaps this is a lull after the excitement of Save Rock and Roll, or maybe my expectations are just that much higher post-hiatus. The music is still good, solid FOB, but I wouldn’t say it’s their best record to date.

Rating: 2.5/5

Recommended:
“American Beauty/American Psycho”
“Centuries”
“The Kids Aren’t Alright”

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