North Texas Daily

Fresh Beats: “American Beauty/American Psycho”

Fresh Beats: “American Beauty/American Psycho”

Fresh Beats: “American Beauty/American Psycho”
January 21
23:59 2015

Nicholas Friedman / Features Editor

Fall Out Boy’s remaining fans are few and far between – there are dozens of us. While many jumped ship following the release of its third studio album, “Infinity on High,” others kept up with the band. After returning from the end of its hiatus in 2013 and the release of the feature-heavy, pop-carried “Save Rock & Roll,” fans were eager to see what Pete and the boys would come up with next.

Enter “American Beauty/American Psycho,” an album that wedges itself between the melodies of early 00s pop-punk and the hip-hop inspired drum tracks of the last few years.

AB/AP attempts to showcase lead singer Patrick Stump’s wide vocal range, but often opts to keep it bottled up in favor of what comes off as screaming, as tracks are rattled by the bunched instrumentation of the rest of the band. The album does have its shining moments, though.

Leading the pack

The lead track on the album is “Irresistible,” which continues Fall Out Boy’s legacy of a super strong album opener. Not much will come close to “Thriller” from “Infinity on High” but “Irresistible” does what it’s meant to. As the lyrics say, regardless of the band’s change in style, it will remain irresistible to diehard fans.

What follows is a trio of songs that were previously released as one-offs or singles prior to the album’s release. “American Beauty/American Psycho,” obviously carrying the title of the album, is a groovy, dare I say classic, Fall Out Boy pop-punk song that really gets things going. Sampling Motley Crue’s “Too Fast for Love,” the band pays homage to rock of the past.

Also here is “Centuries,” the song that everyone and their mother has most likely heard by now, having been played through the entirety of this past year’s college football season. It is what it is, a cool, collected track that is now regretfully overplayed.

Filling out this round is “The Kids Aren’t Alright” which bears absolutely no resemblance to the Offspring song that everyone has probably forgotten about by now. Anyway, this song gives us a softer look at a band that oftentimes forgets to take a breath. This rings similar to “Young Volcanoes” on “Save Rock & Roll” and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Let’s have a bit more of this next time.

Melodic middle

Here we go. This is what we’ve been waiting for. A foot-tapping, head-bobbing, I-need-to-actually-get-up-and-dance-right-now track. “Uma Thurman” blends Stump’s blissful melody with a sample of “The Munsters” TV theme in an attempt to illustrate an iconic scene from “Pulp Fiction.” Success. This song is one of the strongest on the album.

Following this is “Jet Pack Blues” and “Novocaine,” the first of which is, for all intents and purposes, a hopeless love song. It’s about a guy singing to his significant other in the rain as he calls for her to “come back home.” Maybe this is an allegory for the band’s earliest sound or maybe it’s just meant to be taken literally. Either way, the track provides a solid intro for “Novocaine” – yes, spelled exactly that way.

This is pure, unadulterated punk-punk, not pop-punk Fall Out Boy: a hard-hitting, radio rocking, crowd surfing kind of song. Another upswing, but it doesn’t last long.

A simple fadeout

For the most part, the album holds its identity close, keeping things going with upbeat tracks and a few solemn songs in between. Unfortunately the album closes with three fairly anticlimactic and cliché pieces.

“Fourth of July” and “Favorite Record” seem to blend together, leaving listeners to wonder whether these songs were written solely to capture radio plays. Maybe they’ll sound better over time.

Then comes “Immortals,” which most people will remember as the lead song for the soundtrack to Disney’s “Big Hero 6,” an animated film released late last year. While this version of the song sounds like it is mixed a bit better, it still lacks the flare of the opening tracks.

The last track on the album, “Twin Skeleton’s (Hotel in NYC)” starts out strong but begins to mumble as it drags on its three-and-a-half minute playtime – a disappointingly weak closer to an otherwise solid album.

The verdict

Overall, Fall Out Boy still seems to have what it takes to stay relevant. It changes with the scene, pumps out the hits and puts on a good show. Though not as cohesive or consistent as its earlier releases, “American Beauty/American Psycho” marks another decent release in Fall Out Boy’s catalog.

Tracks to listen to:

“Uma Thurman”

“Jet Pack Blues”


Featured Image: Lead singer Patrick Stump performs in Monto Water Rats, London on May 3rd, 2011. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

About Author

Nicholas Friedman

Nicholas Friedman

Nicholas Friedman is the Editor In Chief of the North Texas Daily. In addition, he's had his work published at The Dallas Morning News, GuideLive and the Denton Record-Chronicle.

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