Sunday, January 18, 2009

Record Review: Fall Out Boy Folie a Deux

Fall Out Boy
Folie a Deux

What do you do when you’re the moment’s biggest name in rock ’n’ roll? Whatever you want, of course. But rather than Motley Crue-esque debauchery, Fall Out Boy opt for Sgt. Pepper-like overindulgence. There is not a thread of cohesion to be found on "Folie a Deux." The record jumps from Memphis Soul ("I Don’t Care") to piano balladry ("What a Catch, Donnie") without warning or apology. And, as if there weren’t enough going on already, pointless cameos from Elvis Costello, Debbie Harry, The Academy Is, and Gym Class Heroes are crammed into the remaining crevices.

Not surprisingly, the band is at its best when it sticks to its strengths. "The (Shipped) Gold Standard" and "(Coffee’s For Closers)" are great, mid-tempo emo tracks. And, whether or not you think he is a complete wanker, Pete Wentz is still a great lyricist. Though he’s always been a pro at irony, the hints of sincerity are most effective. On "Gold Standard" he writes "You can only blame your problems on the world for so long/Before it all becomes the same old song."

"Folie a Deux" may be completely overblown, but at least it errs on the side of levity. Rather than getting dragged down by the sorrow or dramatics of their peers, FOB is clearly having a good time. But why? Patrick Stump sings it best on the album opener, "No one wants to hear you sing about tragedy."

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