Save Rock And Roll

Save Rock And Roll

For a band that hadn’t released an album in five years, having gone on hiatus following 2008’s Folie à Deux, the title of their fifth album was bold, divisive, and, importantly, tongue in cheek—qualities that had defined Fall Out Boy since forming in Chicago in 2001. Save Rock and Roll is not, however, the work of a group content to rest on their legacy. The cover art, featuring an image of a punk standing next to a monk, was chosen to represent the sound of the record, a symbolic meeting of the old and the new combining to create something fresh. And so while Joe Trohman’s guitars and the band’s trademark arena-filling emo-pop melodies remain intact, they’re only part of the puzzle, no longer the whole picture. Collaborations with artists such as rapper 2 Chainz (“My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up)”), pop singer Foxes (the soul/R&B funk of “Just One Yesterday”), and Big Sean (“The Mighty Fall”) speak of a band looking to remain relevant in a music landscape that had changed dramatically during their absence. Elton John’s appearance on the title track, meanwhile, was a reminder of the company FOB was now keeping. And while the string-laden drama of opener “The Phoenix” bounces with typical guitar-charged adrenaline (albeit with a more shiny pop sheen courtesy of co-producer Butch Walker, who’d previously worked with P!nk and Katy Perry, among others), it’s balanced by “Miss Missing You,” a song drawn straight from The Human League’s ’80s synth-pop songbook. Similarly, the dance energy of “Death Valley” and soul-funk of “Where Did the Party Go” are more in keeping with vocalist/guitarist Patrick Stump’s 2011 solo album Soul Punk than FOB’s past. Tellingly, “Where Did the Party Go” riffs on fears of aging and irrelevance, Stump singing, “We were the kids who screamed, ‘We weren’t the same,’ in sweaty rooms/Now we’re doomed to organizing walk-in closets like tombs.” By reinventing their sound on Save Rock and Roll, that was a fate Fall Out Boy managed to avoid.

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