Like Paramore, Fall Out Boy is a band that you can’t review like the rest. They’re not some band that is new to our ears and there’s a personal connection we can never shake. See, me and Ashley would’ve never been friends if it wasn’t for this band and some weird chick in our creative writing class who introduced us in a hallway sophomore year of college. So because they brought us together and because we’ve both spent too much money and time on them over the years, we both had to write about Save Rock and Roll. Our friends will know who wrote each, but we’ll leave it anonymous to the rest.
With the likes of Dave Grohl still making music, I was unaware rock and roll needed saving. This is news to me, but more power to you for the effort. You started out as this band that meant the world to me with lyrics I thought were genius, but once I learned every other line was plucked from somewhere else, and the four of you started to show your true colors in my reality; the magic faded. I could no longer support a band that appeared to treat their music like a chore rather than a gift. I quit you not too long before you took your break.
That’s not to say our time together was forgotten and belittled though. It’s because of you that I met every friend after high school, so as you stole from Bob Hope and tweaked; thks fr th mmrs. Now you’re back after a short break on this rescue mission and I’m not sure if I’m ready to create any new memories with you.
The lead singles from Save Rock And Roll didn’t sit well with me at all. It was as if you were trying too hard, like a kid going overboard in Hot Topic; you put on too much and the end result was a cheapened version of what you were going for. Both “The Phoenix” and “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up)” sound exactly the same, structured in a way that’s a burst of energy, but empty. What are these rambling even saying…I know I shouldn’t try to figure out what a FOB song means, I know better, but still.
The title of the album still irks me, but I got past that as I did find a couple songs I could thoroughly enjoy. I know people are hating on “Young Volcanoes,” for being too Top 40/Vh1 but really, you haven’t been “punk rock” in years, so I don’t see what’s wrong with this song. It proved to me that not every track on Save Rock And Roll was going to be the same tune on a loop. Yes, Pat Monahan could’ve sang this one, but hey soul sister, calm down. Another glimmer of goodness was “Alone Together.” That continues to be the only one I instantly adopt as I cycle through.
It was nice of you to invite other artists on this mission, but really, did you think that no one was going to notice that “Just One Yesterday” featuring Foxes clearly stole the intro of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep?” You’re aware that’s one of the most well-known songs in the past few years, right? Apparently not. I expect “The Mighty Fall” featuring Big Sean to be a single since it sounds like those other two, and how was “Rat A Tat” featuring Courtney Love born? By taking two songs and forcing them on one another like an arranged marriage? Thought so. Then there’s Elton John on the title track. Let’s just say I would’ve liked a “Tiny Dancer” cover a whole lot more.
The only thing that came to mind when I was done with Save Rock And Roll was a question from 10 Things I Hate About You; “can you ever just be whelmed?” FOB, it wasn’t the most amazing thing I’ve heard from you, but it wasn’t the worst. I wish you well on your task of saving rock and roll, but again, it’s doing just fine and always has been.
This letter is difficult to write, considering that, in the past, we were good friends, joined at the ears. A part of the band still remains embedded into my personal life. That being said, I think it’s only fair to give you a response to your album, not out of bias, from a fan and a close friend, but from a music journalist’s point of view.
I remember talking to Andy a few years ago, just hours before playing Jimmy Kimmel. We discussed Folie a Deux, and I recall saying, “This is one of the greatest albums I think you’ve ever made.” At the time, it wasn’t a lie. That album spun on, with “Coffee’s for Closers,” and “The (Shipped) Gold Standard,” repeating themselves twice as long as the record itself. All those words meant something to me, and I confess that I felt as though my adoration for this would never die; I would always be at the barricade, would know every riff and harmonization, bridge and break down, interview and newsflash.
My belief in that adoration has never died, but admittedly, with the new record, Save Rock and Roll, something else has.
When the hiatus was lifted, a sense of dread and excitement flooded my nervous system. I was dreading the countless fans that would run me into the barricades, nearly suffocating me through every performance, but excited to hear how things progressed after the few years you had to explore yourselves as separate artists. Then came, “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up).” Catchy. But that’s all I felt. No immediate connection. Fine. “This Ain’t a Scene,” and “I Don’t Care,” took a few plays to grow into me, but the problem? I never cared to run MSKWYDITD again. Even now I only know the chorus.
Flashforward to the next two releases, “The Phoenix” and “Young Volcanoes” – and I still further distanced myself as a fan of the band. It was a slow backwards shuffle to the wall. At least with “Young Volcanoes,” because I was either bleary-eyed or genuinely appreciative, I felt this was the track that would segue into a newfound Fall Out Boy. A sense of innocence ran through the speakers – naivety. There was no try; it was merely do. It didn’t hold, though.
Save Rock and Roll further reminds me of that badnewsbears feeling I had when the announcement was initially made. There is dread that those who latch onto the scene now will only be because of the try-too-hard attitude you’ve branded yourselves with; it’ll be cool to like Fall Out Boy again because tickets are ecofriendly.
“Just One Yesterday,” is a remake of the Adele classic “Rolling in the Deep,” while (and out of no disrespect to Sir Elton John), “Save Rock and Roll,” is “What a Catch,” refurbished. There’s a distinct difference from incorporating and stealing. Words were one thing, but to grab a beat? You remind me of Vanilla Ice and his controversy with Queen and Bowie. My hopes for any salvation reside in two tracks: “Together Alone,” and “Miss Missing You.” Even then, I’m not quite I feel a shift in musicianship.
You have to understand, I’ve grown up on bands such as that of Paramore and My Chemical Romance. They have both remained the same bands through their entire careers, even with member switches and losses. Yet, they have constantly remade themselves; no two albums sound like duplicates of the others. They weren’t afraid to take chances, and I feel my dear friends, that you were apprehensive to make necessary adjustments to show us how you’ve grown out of yourselves. If anything, I can safely agree with myself that Save Rock and Roll is a mere step away from Folie A Deux, a pick-up-off-of where you left us, and where I began waiting. You promised us change would come…
I’m not suggesting my attitude, nor my way of life and what blares through my headphones lately is better than you are. But as scary as it sounds, maybe I have changed and see myself in other places now. However, I will never stop supporting you, whether at a distance or at the barricade. I’ll risk bruises and a few missing strands of hair to hang out with the dance party at the front (my friends put on a pretty good show, too). Next week, I’ll buy the album as I always have, and will play it on my car at full volume. But my heart won’t be poured into the singing and I may not remember these lyrics in a few years time like I have with the past albums.
Don’t be too hard on yourselves. For what you’ve lost in me, you’ve gained in my 14-year-old cousin. I’ve merely passed on my heirloom. Perhaps she’ll find better use for it than my 26 year old something self will.
Until the next show,