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Album Review: Fall Out Boy’s “American Beauty/American Psycho”

Fall Out Boy’s “American Beauty/American Psycho” is an album about dichotomies, a very 2015 experiment for the band’s sound, even though the title is borrowed from films released in 1999 and 2000, respectively.

In keeping with this throwback theme, “AB/AP” respects the group’s roots. Patrick Stump’s vocals soar on the pop hooks of Pete Wentz’s punk lyrics, while Joe Trohman’s guitar-playing and Andy Hurley’s drumming paint the alternative rock backdrop.

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(Photo credit: falloutboy.com)
(Photo credit: falloutboy.com)

However, their production makes its departure with their use of samples. If the 1920s were the Jazz Age, then the 2000s are the Hip Hop Age, and rapper Kanye West’s samplings have arguably done more to influence the music business than any other artist.

Not even Fall Out Boy is immune. After taking their hiatus between 2008’s “Folie à Deux” and 2013’s “Save Rock and Roll,” the ensemble came to discover that the recording industry has evolved in those few years. Now, laptop demos can make it all the way to the final release.

Wentz has been quoted as saying that Fall Out Boy’s goal with “AB/AP” was to create a more futuristic incarnation of rock ‘n’ roll. They are just the band to do it. After all, their debut studio album, “Take This to Your Grave (2003),” is oftentimes credited with ushering in the emo pop movement.

So, although “AB/AP” is more akin to a DJ’s remix record of Fall Out Boy songs than an actual album from the band itself, they are the only act daring enough and forward-thinking enough to be themselves without sounding like themselves.

The paradox of Fall Out Boy being the only band to pull off this non-Fall Out Boy piece, is apparent in the project’s title. “American Beauty” is a drama, and “American Psycho” is a comedy, but both movies are united by their satirical take on modern bourgeoisie values.

Fall Out Boy’s paradoxes work because they find that one unifying element to tie the chaos all together, to beautify its psychosis. For example, Stump has professed his love for albums as an art form in an age when singles are most lucrative, but “AB/AP” is full of radio-friendly tracks.

The unifying element between Stump’s sentiment and the track list, which seemingly contradict, is his success at orchestrating a more cohesive album than “Save Rock and Roll.” Every song on “AB/AP” sounds like it belongs to the same album. Yet, they could each be released without it.

But for those who wish to listen to some music and be entertained without contemplating the postmodern meanings behind the inclusion of Mötley Crüe’s “Too Fast for Love” in the title track, or the theme song from “The Munsters” in “Uma Thurman,” “AB/AP” delivers.

Fall Out Boy greatly benefited from their 2014 Monumentour alongside Paramore, masterminding choruses for “AB/AP” which promise to be chanted by stadiums full of people during their upcoming world tour.

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“American Beauty/American Psycho” is an adrenaline rush, and it gets stuck in your head like an addiction to a high. As with any experimentation, it has its duds (“Centuries” is entirely overrated, not at all worthy of this sterling band).

Regardless, it will get our generation to talk about rock again, and revolutionize the revolution.

Collegian A&E Writer Hunter Goddard can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @hunter_gaga.

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