Music: Fall Out Boy’s “Save Rock and Roll” gives them a second chance for mainstream success

Shuyi Qi

In the early 2000s, Fall Out Boy had every punk rock loving teenager — including me — bowing down at their feet. Their angsty music nearly compelled me to flip the finger at my parents as the band enjoyed mainstream success. It was glorious.

Released on April 16, “Save Rock and Roll” redeems Fall Out Boy after the band’s less-than-stellar 2008 album “Folie a Deux” by evolving their style to the new indie rock and pop scene while still keeping their punk rock roots. Source: falloutboy.com

Released on April 16, “Save Rock and Roll” redeems Fall Out Boy after the band’s less-than-stellar 2008 album “Folie a Deux” by evolving their style to the new indie rock and pop scene while still keeping their punk rock roots. Source: falloutboy.com

But shortly thereafter, the band experienced a fall and went on a hiatus in 2009. I ditched the finger flipping and was more apt to sit under a tree with my guitar as the hippie indie wave arrived. When I heard that there was going to be a new album, I wondered, could Fall Out Boy make a comeback?

Yes, they could.

Even though the band’s new album, “Save Rock and Roll”, isn’t necessary for the survival of rock and roll, it certainly ensured the band’s survival. The band has added to its poetic teen angst the tone of the newer alternative indie rock, a dash of Maroon 5’s pop style and guest vocals. While the songs are mainly about love and the freedom of being young, the album’s overall message is that the band is back for good.

Though the guest vocalists help Fall Out Boy come back in fashion, they sometimes clashed with the loud guitar melodies, the basslines and Patrick Stump’s vocals. The song “Rat a Tat” starts with rock singer Courtney Love sneering “It’s Courtney, bitch,” sending the song into a forced tumble of punky chaos. Although the song manages to save itself through its catchy rhythm in the middle, it’s sullied every time Love shouts the lyrics.

The same goes for rapper Big Sean in “The Mighty Fall”, where the pace of his rap is out of sync with the song, making Big Sean seem irrelevant. Again, the song barely manages to hold up as Stump jumps in with his familiar vocals and slick basslines.

Nevertheless, these missteps can be forgiven due to the vast number of better songs.

The band has managed to mature while still creating different sounds that are easy to enjoy. In “Just One Yesterday”, featuring the up-and-coming British singer Foxes, catchy guitar riffs are balanced with mellower vocals. “Young Volcanoes”, another success, shows a more tranquil side of Fall Out Boy with acoustic guitar chords reminiscent of Train’s “Soul Sister”.

But the most prominent track of all is the titular song, “Save Rock and Roll”. You would think that the Elton John’s resonant voice and prodigious presence would make Stump sound like an inexperienced punk teen, and in a sense, he does. But mostly, as both chant, “Wherever I go, trouble seems to follow/ I’m only here to save rock and roll,” to the uplifting cinematic strings and drums, it’s a harmonious and noteworthy song. It is the coming together of old and new in a song about the troubles of being in the rock and roll spotlight that makes this song great.

With the album ending on a great note, I realized that I had just listened to every single song. Usually I wouldn’t bother to take 40 minutes out of my life to listen an entire album. But because of the way Fall Out Boy delivered their comeback by maturing their punk rock sounds while maintaining their old style, it was definitely worth it.