I’m celebrating my return from a temporary blogging hiatus (thanks, college), by writing about another post-hiatus return: Fall Out Boy.
Save Rock and Roll is Fall Out Boy’s fifth studio album and the first post-hiatus album, released April 2013 with Island Records. The album was recorded in complete secrecy in Venice, CA. The title is an oxymoron, as Save Rock and Roll sounds more like rock-influenced pop than rock and roll. Save Rock and Roll hit #1 on the Billboard 200 chart and sold 154,000 copies within its first week. The album features some major names on certain songs, including Courtney Love and Elton John.
Fall Out Boy created music videos for all eleven tracks, releasing them slowly from February 2013 and May 2014. The music videos were then compiled into a short film titled “The Young Blood Chronicles,” which premiered in full on Palladia on May 21, 2014.
1. The Phoenix
Fall Out Boy kicks off their post-hiatus album with a heart-racing, intense anthem. The song is fittingly named after the mythical creature, reborn again from flames. The message is clear: Fall Out Boy is back and better than ever. “The Phoenix” plays like a scene in a blockbuster action film; I’m surprised no director has yet used this song for an action scene. The fast and furious violins get your heart pounding, and the song as a whole makes you want to get up and kick ass.
“My Songs” was the first single, and it’s a firecracker. The hand-clapping tempo, well-timed pauses in lyrics, and steady buildup into the chorus get your heart racing. “My Songs” is a pump-up song, and one of the few tracks that sounds like rock. The song warns you to be careful what you wish for, as vocalist Patrick Stump burns down the past to start anew. “My Songs” has been used often in pop culture since its release, making appearances in “Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters,” “Criminal Minds,” and mashed up with DJ Khalid’s “All I Do is Win” in “Pitch Perfect 2.”
3. Alone Together
The juxtaposition in the song’s title is a clever hint to the lyrical topic. “Alone Together” describes a relationship between two people, seemingly very different but actually quite similar, who aren’t certain they should be together (Genius). The chorus is filled with desperation as Stump begs to tag along with this girl, even though neither knows where they’re headed (“I don’t know where you’re going/But do you got room for one more troubled soul?“).
4. Where Did the Party Go
“Where Did the Party Go” was the first song written for the album. In 2012, Wentz wrote a very raw and emotional blog post about the backlash to Folie a Deux and his life post-breakup, titled “We Liked You Better Fat: Confessions of a Pariah.” Soon after, he and guitarist/lyricist Pete Wentz began writing again. The “party” can mean several things, according to the lyrics: a relationship, love, the punk scene. There are smoking metaphors for relationships; one part looks at “the difference between real love/And the love on TV;” and the bridge laments the end of the rebellious phase as those kids become adults.
5. Just One Yesterday feat. Foxes
If “Just One Yesterday” sounds familiar, listen to Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep.” The two tracks are musically similar, and the opening lines are both sung in the same manner. Stump sings his plans to get back at a girl who broke his heart…just to return the favor (“I want to teach you a lesson in the worst kind of way“). British singer-songwriter Foxes harmonizes with Stump throughout and comes in strong on the bridge. “Just One Yesterday” is a bittersweet song: the verses sound almost foreboding, while the chorus is heartbreakingly loving.
6. The Mighty Fall feat. Big Sean
The opening of “The Mighty Fall” recalls “The Nightmare Before Christmas” soundtrack with the jingling bells and “la las.” But honestly, that and Stump’s vocals are the only bright points. “The Mighty Fall” is a long shot even for Fall Out Boy, thanks to the rap. The lyrics for it are awful and a bit uncomfortable. What starts as a song about falling in love turns into one about sex and physical attraction. Big Sean’s last line (“And hell yeah, I’m a dick, girl, I’m addicted to you“) is sampled from Simple Plan’s “Addicted“–and is the most uncomfortable line to listen to, thanks to the sleazy manner in which it’s uttered.
7. Miss Missing You
I always forget about this song, and yet every time it comes on, I remember how much I enjoy it. “Miss Missing You” is a song about moving on from someone who was one’s “picket fence,” or (seemingly) perfect partner. Stump reminisces about this girl, notes that he’s slowly doing okay without her (“Maybe I’ll burn a little brighter tonight/Let the fire breathe me back to life“), but still misses her occasionally (“I miss missing you now and then“). “Miss Missing You” has an 80s feel to its music, resembling Blondie’s “Heart of Glass” at parts.
8. Death Valley
“Death Valley” began as a demo recorded on an iPad by bassist Joe Trohman…while hiding in a closet at his in-laws (no one knows why). The song appears to be about a relationship that’s been through hell. Stump sings about wanting to know everything about this girl: all the good, the bad, and the dirty (yes, that’s a Panic! At the Disco reference).
9. Young Volcanos
“Young Volcanos” is one of my favorites on Save Rock and Roll. It’s the most relaxed and light track, a necessity on such a heavy album. The tempo, combined with the guitars and clapping, is upbeat. It’s a song you might hear at a campfire. “Young Volcanos” talks about the young adults of today, breaking free of past restraints and serving as “the beginning of the end.”
10. Rat a Tat feat. Courtney Love
I love the frenetic feel of this song. Courtney Love’s spoken word portions are passionately stated with no care for the tempo, and that somehow works. The lyrics are laced with sarcasm and disgust as Stump sings about love as a weapon in war, comparing his heart to a grenade–which may also be a reference Green Day‘s “She’s a Rebel,” as well as the iconic cover of American Idiot. The lyrics also talk about fighting to live longer just to “get on Saint Peter’s list;” Saint Peter is considered the gatekeeper of heaven.
11. Save Rock and Roll feat. Elton John
“Save Rock and Roll” is a beautiful closing track, and it features one of rock’s biggest legends, to boot. It’s a song meant to have lighters…well, cell phone flashlights up in the air as everyone sings along with all their might. Stump and Elton John both have beautiful, melodic voices that sound incredible together. Both sing with so much heart about dedicating their lives to saving rock and roll. “Save Rock and Roll” is a beautiful way to end the band’s debut back on the scene.
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