The blaring horns on the opening track of Fall Out Boy’s new album American Beauty/American Psycho are a flashy spectacle, but don’t offer too much more from what we’ve already heard from them. Save Rock and Roll, their 2013 offering, was a tour de force of a record. Using catchy anthemic hooks and compelling guest vocals, they created a musically cohesive collection of songs. However American Beauty/American Psycho doesn’t quite hit the same spot.
The lyrics themselves explore the same old tropes of love and relationships. Fall Out Boy has always been good at expressing the hopes and tribulations of the young without making it seem overly sappy or sentimental, and their new record again carries on this trend. Songs like ‘Uma Thurman’ or ‘Fourth of July’ serve up easy, appeal-to-masses pop rock. ‘Centuries’ is typical of the strong vocals that Patrick Stump is well known for. He conviction certainly helps lyrics such as ‘we’ll go down in history/remember me for centuries’.
However, I feel like I’m describing the same thing over and over: catchy beats, a well blended cross of pop/rock and that’s it. However, it is an album that will serve loyal fans of the band well. Why change a formula that works and attracts many fans? Unfortunately on their now sixth album I think they’ve stuck to safe and similar for too long, making many of the songs non-entities when people compare it to their previous material.
Beyond being a good entry into the band in these days of more baby faced ‘pop rockers’ and a way to show that pop-rock can still involve headbanging, American Beauty/American Psycho is not much more. It’s a welcome contrast in the pop music landscape for sure, contrasting against the utterly EDM dominated market, but it’s not a grabbing record overall. That’s not to say there isn’t anything to like in the forty minute run time – I’m definitely giving ‘Irresistible’ several more spins before I’m done writing this – but I think Fall Out Boy can serve up something more interesting for sure.