american beauty/american psycho

track-by-track review

Featuring: Sam Devotta

We are back with a new track-by-track review. Sam and I are dissecting the latest Fall Out Boy album, American Beauty/American Psycho.

Irresistible

Jane -This is how a Fall Out Boy album always needs to start. It’s so strong and brings you right into a bundle of energy and excitement. That trumpet sound leading us into the opening track is totally inspired. It does feel more mature but it’s still classic FOB. However, I do kinda miss the long titles, and this album is having none of that!

Sam - Yes! Exactly! The trumpet is the perfect next step for post-Save Rock & Roll FOB. I think it really sets the tone for what’s to come. With an intro like that, you know you’re in for a treat. I also have to admit I don’t think I’ll ever be used to the song titles actually being lines from the lyrics and not just random sayings/quotations.

Jane - Right? I’m so used to “Our Lawyers Made Us Change The Name of This Song So We Wouldn’t Get Sued,” but then again, I could never remember which song titles attached to which songs, so I guess technically this is the easier way!

American Beauty/American Psycho

Jane - Sadly, this isn’t one of my favourite tracks on the album, which is unfortunate as it’s the titular (hello, Scott Aukerman) song on the album. FOB is definitely experimenting with a different sound with this song. It’s most definitely not a bad song, I do enjoy it, and orally it really does sound good. I just find the repetition a bit tiresome and altogether kind of boring.

Sam - The first time I heard this song, I was very “meh” about it. It didn’t grab me (although the video is eye catching) and I forgot what it sounded like until I listened to it again and eventually it grew on me. It actually feels like a solo-Patrick song (i.e. a follow-up to Soul Punk). The lyrics aren’t the strongest, but it will be a fun call-and-response moment at a live FOB show. Tip: if you want a good workout, put this track on and do jumping jacks through the whole thing. Trust me.

Jane - Ugh, pass on the jumping jacks, those are my nemesis (nemeses?)!

Centuries

Jane - Yassssss this song makes me incredibly happy. The track starts off with that killer Suzanne Vega sample, which gives the song an awesome mood and ambience. The song is crazy catchy, feels like a classic FOB song and Patrick does an amazing job as per usual. The song is totally anthemic and I love it, I love it, I love it.

Sam - “Anthemic” is an amazing word choice for this song and I completely agree. When they first released it in September, I described it as “massive”. Just when you think you’ve heard all that Patrick can do, he belts out a chorus like this and just leaves you in awe.

Jane - Exactly, so, so good. It doesn’t shock me that it got as popular as it did.

Sam - According to my nieces, Fall Out Boy’s “Remember Me” song (as they call it), is the theme song for the Mississauga Steelheads (a junior hockey team), so that’s pretty cool (even though I had no idea who the Steelheads were until they told me).

The Kids Aren't Alright

Jane - Initially when I first heard this song, I wasn’t even sure it was a Fall Out Boy song. It’s much softer and a total lighter-waver kind of song. As I listen to it more, I’m enjoying it more, especially the whistling intro. However, considering how upbeat we just were with Centuries, this song brings it down hard. As nice as Patrick sounds in it, I prefer his harder growling than his ballading.

Sam - I love this song. I loved it as soon as I heard it. I totally get what you’re saying about placement, though (like how Golden is my least favourite track off of Infinity on High because it’s in between Hum Hallelujah (aka my jam) and Tnks Fr th Mmrs). It’s a weird transition, and probably could have worked if it was right before Favourite Record, but it’s still one of my favourite songs on this album. Like Meghan Trainor, I’m all about that bass - if you listen to this loud enough, the steady bassline will make your house shake.

Jane - I completely agree with what you said about Golden (like, I can't even call that song to mind, and yet Hum Hallelujah and Thnks Fr the Mmrs pop right in). I will have to test that bass theory though!

Uma Thurman

Jane - OMG this song. It’s so ridiculous, it makes no sense, but shit is it catchy. First off, it starts off sounding like one of my favourite FOB songs, Alone Together, so that immediately makes me thrilled. Also, every time I listen to it, I just imagine the little parrot bobbing in time to it on that Vine. The sampling on this album is super inspired, I’m very impressed. There’s a Miserlou-esque quality to the guitar work but apparently it’s actually a sample of The Munsters theme song. But seriously, it has to have at least a little bit to do with Pulp Fiction (Uma Thurman, dur).

Sam - I never knew I wanted to dance like Uma Thurman until I heard this song. It’s impossible to sit still when this is on, which makes listening to FOB at work a little awkward. And yes, Jane, the comparison to Alone Together (also one of my favourites) is perfect!

Jane - I want to shake my thang all the way down the street listening to this diddy, which I’m sure only I would truly appreciate.

Jet Pack Blues

Jane - The power that The Kids Aren’t Alright lacks is brought right back into this track. The song is very strong, but I don’t think it’s going to be strong enough to become a single.

Sam - Ahh, the lyrics in this song are so good, they kill me: “she’s singing ‘baby come home’ in a melody of tears while the rhythm of the rain keeps time”. Vintage FOB and I can’t get them out of my head. No, literally, I’ve been singing it for the past four days, much to my family’s chagrin.

Novocaine

Jane - I really like this song. Patrick is hitting those high notes like his life depends on them (which I guess, economically, it does. His voice is literally his money-maker.). It’s super danceable and it definitely make you feel powerful when you’re walking down the street listening to it.

Sam - I like your description of it, especially the powerful feeling,  but I have to admit, this is my least favourite song on the album. I don’t hate it, it just doesn’t stand out quite as much to me. Which is funny, because it kind of reminds me of The Phoenix (Pete shouting “hijack the hype” at the end of Novocaine = Pete shouting “wave the white flag” at the end of The Phoenix), which is one of my favourites.

Jane - That’s totally fair. I think it’s a good song but I definitely do not rank it amongst my faves of the album.

Fourth of July

Jane - I feel like this song was written for the radio, it feels very current in that way. It’s a good song all in all but it doesn’t really feel very FOB except for Patrick’s warbling.

Sam - This is another one I love. It totally sounds radio-ready now that you mention it, but there’s something about this song that just makes me want to throw aside my inhibitions and scream along. Maybe it’s the same powerful feeling you get from Novocaine?

Jane - Yeah, I agree with that. I think FOB really tries to put power into all of their songs, though some are more powerful than others.

Favorite Record

Jane - I really like the production on this song with all the extra vocals and synths going on in the background. This song is really super rad. There is a weird Coldplay feel to this track for some reason but FOB still make it their own.

Sam - This is another song where the lyrics remind me of old-school FOB. I don’t know if it’s actually a throwback to Dead on Arrival (“I know I’m not your favourite record”), or what, but either way it’s great. I don’t think it’s the strongest cut on the album by any means, but it makes for one heck of a sing-a-long.

Jane - Agreed completely. Oooh that’s an interesting point about Dead on Arrival, I’m sure you’re on to something.

Immortals

Jane -Fuck I love this song and I’m honestly really sad that this isn’t the final track of the album. The first time I heard this song was at the end of Big Hero 6 and I immediately dug it. It’s totally classic FOB, with a nice modern sound. It’s catchy, badass, anthemic, and the opening riff is totally kick-ass. WHY COULDN’T THEY END THE ALBUM ON THIS SONG???

Sam - I completely agree with your description, Jane, but I’ll add two more words: dance party! I just want to flail around to this song.

Jane - Totally! This song is so great.

Twin Skeleton's (Hotel in NYC)

Jane - Twin Skeleton’s (Hotel in NYC): This song is alright but it just doesn’t pack the same punch as Immortals. Like… it’s perfectly fine but it definitely isn’t as exciting as some of the other songs.

Sam - This song reminds me of Panic! at the Disco for some reason: the hotel reference always makes me think of Build God, Then We’ll Talk, and the “oohs” at the end sound like they were plucked straight out of Let’s Kill Tonight.  Since I love P!ATD, this is not necessarily a bad thing, and I think it makes a decent closer, but I agree that it’s not the strongest track.

Jane - You are definitely the P!ATD expert so I will cater to your expertise on this one!


Sam delightfully informed me that lots of our favourite albums are turning 10 this year, so we thought we'd do a how-do-they-hold-up-now review for a few of them. That and more to come. Later days!