Deep breath, everyone, I’m about to share a secret with you. Band’s change their sound. I honestly don’t see the point of judging an album on anything other than its own merits and faults. Is Fall Out Boy’s long awaited (well, by some) comeback album the sort of fast paced pop punkery of debut Take This to Your Grave or does it lean more towards the introspective ballads of Folie a Deux?
Truth is, it shouldn’t matter. Music will always be subjective, as surely as this review is by no means a definitive account of the quality of Save Rock and Roll. Are Fall Out Boy as good as they used to be? You might as well ask if Fall Out Boy were ever good. So let’s try our best to not compare a band that has grown during their four year hiatus to the teenage emo heart throbs they once were. Glad we got that out of the way.
Save Rock and Roll is probably the best pop album to have come out in a long old time (pause while teenage girls everywhere take to the internet to rant about how “FOB will never be pop”). Of course, claiming this doesn’t say much considering the current standard of pop music. If you look up to Nicki Minaj, you are probably brain damaged. I know I pretty much just made a case for subjectivity in music, but there are no two ways where she is concerned. Sorry.
For the most part, the album is fast, catchy and fun. Fall Out Boy haven’t lost their ear for a hook, with the funky dance bassline of Where Did the Party Go, the infectious sing along vibe of Young Volcanoes and the fantastic riff from Death Valley, the last of which incidentally, contains a very brief Dubstep breakdown. Spoiler alert, it actually works.
There are places where the album falls flat. Rat a Tat is a song I cannot for the life of me get through for the sole reason that hearing Courtney Love pronounce “it’s Courtney, bitch” makes me want to gouge my eyes out with a rusty fork and lie down to die. (A shame, since that song is pretty great otherwise).
Alone Together is a little too Backstreet Boys for my taste and title track Save Rock and Roll kind of kills itself by using an awful altered sample of one of the band’s early songs Chicago is so Two Years ago. For the entire album, the band seems to power through with such confidence and gusto, that such a call back seems out of place.
Save Rock and Roll is by no means a great album. It took me a few listens to consider it as anything more than just quite good. But at the end of the day, the way Fall Out Boy have kicked down the door and released something this different is something I can respect. I can only imagine where they’ll go next, but by all accounts, Fall Out Boy seem to be sure of a bright future.
After years of playing the role of genius for hire to countless bands, including The Cribs, Modest Mouse and of course, The Smiths, Johnny Marr has finally released an album under the solo banner.
Luckily, the latest in a long line to be crowned Godlike Genius by the NME has kept all of his bet ideas for himself. The Messenger encapsulates everything great about his body of work. The record feels like a tidy summation, a musical CV showcasing what he does best.
And of course, what Marr does best is play guitar. The man who has often been credited with birthing the modern indie sound has excelled on this album.
From the Squire esque cascading riff of title track “The Messenger” to the northern soul rythm of fantastic opening track “The Right Thing Right” each song is fresh, inventive and surprising. Never predictable.
It becomes entirely more impressive when one considers a man who has been in music since the 80s is still churning out more innovative sounds than some of the up and coming bands on the scene.
While the fretwork is impressive, there was a worry the album may fall down lyrically and vocally. Luckily, this is not the case. Marr has as much of an ear for a vocal hook as he does a guitar one, as showcased in songs such as “Generate! Generate!” A rousing Marr era Cribs style tune.
Lyrically Marr has just as much to say as his previous songwriting partners. The album as a whole conveys a theme of apathy and disconnection with life. In a time when social networks and X Factor seems to dominate the public, The Messenger really connects.
If you happen to be a fan of Marr and his previous body of work, you will love this album. If you’re looking for a fresh sound wrapped up in a catchy collection of tunes, you will love this album.
If you’re looking for a Cilla Black cover, this album will not be for you. In fact, music in general probably isn’t for you. Sorry.
It’s took long enough by far, but Johnny Marr’s first solo effort is a standout album, and a great start to 2013.