I know what it is that you expect from me dear readers. You sit at your desk at work thinking to your self, “there is all this music culture being marketed at me and I just don’t know what to make of it. They want me to believe that everything I hear is the greatest music ever and that music and culture are moving forward. But I need a reliable, biased voice that rails against all of this. I should drop in on Franconia Station and see what he has to say.” I am hear (this is a pun, it started out as a spelling mistake, but it works in context. I am pointing it out in homage to journalistic integrity and to annoy Mike Geary) for you dear reader. I will help you maneuver through the madness. I will lie, cheat and steal to get you the information that you need to navigate through all the bullshit. And today I will let you in on my first impressions of the new Fall Out Boy album so you don’t have to go out and buy it.
It’s no secret that I have a very conflicted relationship to Fall Out Boy. How can you not though. Patrick Stump’s voice is amazing and Pete Wendtz is the cliche poster boy for rock and roll redone with pouty lips to fit into the teen culture of debauched preciousness. Fall Out Boy write sugar rock music that is relies on saccharine harmony and piercing hooks and they have just enough self doubt and self loathing to make them mildly human and amusing. Least we forget that guitarist Joe Troham is going through some identity crisis with his new Lenny Kravitz/Omar Rodriguez wardrobe and hair do or that Drummer Andy Hurley struggles between being a self proclaimed nihilistic anarchist performing in the worlds most dreamy pop band. Fall Out Boy intrigue me in this really terrible way that I just can’t seem to ignore.
It should also be clarified that I did not obtain this album through purchase at a store. I will not share how I came to be in possession of Folie a Deux. I will only share that I purposely sought after this album and was able to obtain it by means that are not cool, even if you don’t like the artist, not paying for music is not cool. Yes I burn CD’s for people and they do so in return (except for Mike Geary, I seem to be unable to send him CD’s) but even so, as a reputable journalist I can not condone the methods of which I obtain music sometimes, such as I did with this album. I still can’t bring myself to give Pete Wedtz any money though and it pained me to purchase Lifetime’s self titled return on his Decaydence label two years ago.
So what is Folie a Deux all about you ask? Well, it’s about mid tempo boring pop rock music, influenced by sounds so much greater then what they produce. Patrick Stump performs amazingly as always. His voice is strong, sweet, soulful and powerful as it has been since From Under the Cork Tree (please note I have not listened to much of their prior output). It continues my want for him to make a legitimate soul or R&B record. But four songs in the music is fucking terrible. The song “American Suitehearts” (no Pete you are not witty. I know you own Braid and Promise Ring albums and you want to pay homage to them, but Davey and Bob actually understand the English Language) is a disgusting cross between Aerosmith and Green Day. It just doesn’t really work. I’m currently on the sludging “Headfirst Slide into Cooperstown on a Bad Bet” which is just a mess of rock/fuck overdrive. The song is having a fucking identity crisis. Oh now, they have a spiritual hymn, piano driven coda here. Fucking really? Really? Lets skip this track before it freaks out on me and starts running amok around my office.
See, even “The (Shipped) Gold Standard” starts out nice, with an updated homage to the proto emo bands that me and Pete grew up on, but it so quickly falls into more mid-tempo boredom with choppy guitar strumming and vocals.
Fall Out Boy knows how to mimic their influences, and judging by this album, they are listening to a lot of great bands, Queen, the Ramones, The Who and they are applying all of them to their odd brand of poppiness. But it’s not working. They aren’t a classic rock band, in the sense that they did not exist in the 60’s and 70’s. Their approach on Folie a Deux though seems to be an attempt to update these juggernauts and I just hate it. It’s a similar train wreck as Infinity on High was, but where that album just felt awkward, this one just feels bad. I actually hate admitting this, but I miss the straight forward poppy punk inspired rockage of From Under the Cork Tree. This continuing exploration of Micheal Jackson crossed with Ted Nugent is making me want to really hurt some people. Please avoid this album. I’ve suffered enough so you don’t have to.