Staying relevant can be a challenge, especially when you're a rock band. Luckily, some bands have amassed such a loyal fan base that achieving the feat that is relevancy in pop culture is a walk in the park. Fall Out Boy is a testament to this. No matter where they decide to go next with their music, there will be supporters, regardless of how they approach a sound. Good thing American Beauty/American Psycho has plenty of promise.
Released almost two years before their previous effort Save Rock and Roll, AB/AP is definitely the most appropriate follow up the band could have mustered up. This album ties all loose ends of Fall Out Boy's career together, polishing up their pop rock/alternative rock sound as well as dwelling in their earliest sounds. It was clear this album would be a game-changer when the band released the first single, 'Centuries,' back late in 2014.
There are few places where AB/AP falls short of excellence. The LP opens up with the anthemic, brassy 'Irresistible' before segueing into the pop punk chants of the title track of the album. This is followed by some of the album's strongest tracks, such as the monster that is 'Centuries' and the teen anthem 'The Kids Aren't Alright.' Next comes to classy, funky vibes of 'Uma Thurman' and the wonderful story that is 'Jet Pack Blues.' 'Novocaine' opens with a distorted synth-esque vocal line reminiscent of Kanye West's 'Black Skinhead' and has an infectious chorus that's hard to forget. 'Fourth Of July' is a recollection of a love story as well as an apology, and 'Favorite Record' keeps the tales of love going. The iconic 'Immortals' from Big Hero 6 is up next - mixed much better, mind you - and brings back the jams Fall Out Boy is known for. The album concludes with the cinematic 'Twin Skeletons (Hotel In NYC)' that recalls an experience - perhaps a recollection of journeys that helped form the tracks that make up this album! This song could not be a more perfect closure for an already amazing album.
Despite telling a wonderful story, this album still does have a few faults to it. The title track, 'American Beauty/American Psycho' feels a tad cliché, and just included for the sake of satisfying those fans who complain about the band not sounding like they used to back in the day (the same people who are the crybabies whining over how Linkin Park isn't Hybrid Theory anymore...), resulting in an awkward blast of energy that doesn't offer much except a reason to title the album as such. The placement of the love songs 'Fourth Of July' and 'Favorite Record' is also a questionable choice - it's fine to have a few songs about the same topic, but making them back-to-back deters the interest. Not to mention 'July' is a far more energetic track (and more heartfelt) than the latter.
Fall Out Boy has never wandered too far from the path, but they confidently march down it making a hefty impact every step of the way. American Beauty/American Psycho is a testament to that notion, proving to be one of Fall Out Boy's strongest releases, detailing their progression as both a band and creators. Another strong release by a great band.
Favorite Tracks: Centuries, Twin Skeletons (Fourth Of July), Uma Thurman, Irresistible
Least Favorite Tracks: American Beauty/American Psycho, Favorite Record