Fall Out Boy

Save Rock and Roll

BY Ian GormelyPublished Apr 14, 2013

Going out at your peak is great for your legacy, but it makes coming back (a foregone conclusion these days) that much more challenging. Fall Out Boy were acutely aware of this and recorded what became their return to the limelight in secret, just in case things didn't work out. Save Rock and Roll won't save anything, but it's a natural follow-up to 2008's Folie à Deux. The band's roots in Chicago's punk scene often obscures the contributions they've made in the pop world — their pop-rock-R&B hybrid was co-opted by everyone from Pink to Train in their absence — and this album reasserts their creative dominance in that sphere. "The Phoenix" brings the drama, while "Miss Missing You" and "Alone Together" show just how good this band are at crafting sticky earworms. Given the sheer force of singer/guitarist Patrick Stump's blue-eyed-soul vocals, it's curious that guest singers were enlisted on four of the record's 11 tracks. UK vocalist Foxes is a nice foil for Stump on "Just One Yesterday," but Big Sean is utterly unnecessary on "The Mighty Fall" and Elton John adds little to the title track, save his name. Then there's Courtney Love. Her contribution, essentially a spoken rap buried under a wash of noise, feels shoehorned in and, as Courtney tends to do, overshadows the band on their record. More importantly, the star power of the record's guests overshadows the album's best moments.
(Island Records)

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