Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Fall Out Boy - Save Rock And Roll

“Wait, have I just pressed play on Plan B?”

It’s an understandable response to The Phoenix, the opening track of ‘Save Rock And Roll’, which uses the same string sample as Plan B’s iLL Manors.  It’s a sample that immediately brings a sense of urgency to the track, accompanying the lyrics “put on your warpaint”; a track that begins the band’s first album since 2008’s ‘Folie a Deux’.  The phoenix metaphor isn’t easy to miss – this is a blazing return to form.

That sample isn’t the only unusual point of interest though.  ‘Save Rock And Roll’ includes numerous collaborations with other artists, like Big Sean rapping on The Mighty Fall and Courtney Love adding her vocals to Rat A Tat (“it’s Courtney bitch”).  Most weird of all is the collaboration with none other than Elton John on the title track that closes the album.  The gravitas of his voice is odd enough on a punky Fall Out Boy track, but a predictable piano ballad (with obligatory key change) jars with the whole idea of saving rock and roll.

That said, ‘Save Rock And Roll’ is definitely on the pop end of the rock spectrum, especially in comparison to their debut.  Lead single My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (“I’m on FIRE”) is a strong example of the band’s ability to write a catchy hook.  See also Just One Yesterday (“There’s a fire…” wait, that's Adele), Miss Missing You (with its Blondie inflections) and party anthem Where Did The Party Go.  The influences on ‘Save Rock And Roll’ are numerous and varied but only serve to strengthen the pop immediacy and mainstream appeal of the band, even if the lyrics haven’t improved in the process.

Clearly the five year hiatus has benefited the band.  The song titles are shorter, the production is more diverse, and the choruses are as tight and catchy as ever.  It might be unlikely to save rock and roll, but this is frothy pop fun - far more so than the album cover would have you believe.


Gizzle’s Choice:
* My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark
* Where Did The Party Go
* The Mighty Fall

Listen: ‘Save Rock And Roll’ is available now.