Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Turns out saving Rock and Roll is pretty hard

So when something needs saving, it is normally pretty agreeable that it needs saving, such as Africa from poverty or London from pollution. But what happens when people don't even know what they're trying to save? It just turns into a blind war zone with people double checking every 6 minutes whether they're fighting for any particular reason (Millwall matches, every week). The trouble with Fall Out Boy trying to Save Rock and Roll is that, well... people aren't that sure on what Rock and Roll is. They probably haven't heard it this slick, that's for sure.

With Fall Out Boy, the fans seem to be the kind that absolutely adore the band, despite them changing their sound - I don't think they have up until Folie - but as of My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up), they have overstepped the mark according to some sections of the fandom. I hope they realise that all this fuss of programmed drum beats, synthesisers etc. etc. is present on their last two efforts, yes? Oh, you do?

Than we may begin.

The Phoenix rips into the heart of the album clinically. The London Symphony Orchestra provide a very Ill Manors by Plan B backbone (the theme of "hey, I recognise that melody" appears very often) to this grandiose song. Both this and the aforementioned MSKWYDITD are very Fall Out Boy. I can't stand the criticism: the great lyrics are there, the guitar IS THERE (TRUST ME) and so is Patrick's splendid voice. 

Patrick's vocals do step up a notch on this album in particular, with no more "THIS AINT A SCENE, IT'S A GAA DAA ARR RAA". His voice, as he noted on his rather active Twitter account, is far less layered on this album, and it is clearly better for it. High pitches surround our ears, and he still claims to prefer lower registers - take the beautiful Just One Yesterday for a reason why, and a reminder of Rolling In The Deep (#2). The lyrics from Pete are as inventive as ever, as he ponders on Miss Missing you "The person that you'll take a bullet for is behind the trigger" and even seductively uses a police arrest line: "Anything you say, can and will be held against you, so only say my name, it will be held against you". There's nothing as rocky and hard hitting as before, but the lyrics certainly are FoB at heart, and not as Patrick infested as the music. 

The songs on this album are incredibly catchy... pop. Very good pop, too. This is a Rock and Roll band doing what Rock and Roll does: adapt with the times, and show "them" a thing or two in the process, and boy do they. Whether it is the 10 second slight dubstep on Death Valley - as Patrick pointed out, none of the WOMP WOMP WOMP, WAA WAA WAA crap that you hear today - or the Hey Soul Sister rhythm and melody/song on Young Volcanoes (#3).

The collaborations have been much discussed and I have to disagree with some critics who claim they distract from the real music on this album; they add variety, something that is often missing from bands these days (well hello there Dido/Ben Howard/Dido/Black Keys/Dido). The album plunges into the past and present, picking out excellently relevant and musically exceptional artists, with Elton John and Courtney Love the stand outs. Foxes does a sterling job on Just One Yesterday, a rather understated accompaniment, and Big Sean does a catchy verse on The Mighty Fall, the riffiest song on the album. Yeah, riffiest is a word, and probably the least likely word to be invented on what you probably think is a pop album - it isn't, how many times now?

As Courtney Love rants about PowerPoints and Elton John rhymes for the 23908 time "desperation" and "inspiration", it boils down to the bare necessities, the simple bare necessities: the music. And it is good. Very good in fact, after their worst fan rated album yet in Folie, although their most praised by critics at the same time. This album therefore should get an 11 if fans were to go by, but instead it receives a very solid 8 for a very solid album.

Well done Fall Out Boy, rock on.

"We don't know when to quit oh oh"