A quick review for a quick album.
For anyone seeking the antidote to the bloated pop ballads of Fall Out Boy’s most recent album, Save Rock and Roll, look no further than the pop punk four piece’s latest effort; PAX.AM Days.
With a mere eight tracks, none exceeding the three minute mark, Fall Out Boy have delivered an album which is the complete reverse of their last.
The tight, punky, riff fuelled songs are thrown out thick and fast, each track like a shot of adrenaline to the ears. While Save Rock And Roll harnessed Dubstep, duets and other mainstays of modern pop, PAX.AM Days owes more to The Sex Pistols and the underground indie grunge of The Hives.
While it’s usually the norm for a band to grow and experiment, Fall Out Boy have followed up their most ambitious and wide ranging sounding record with something that takes them right back to their early punk roots.
It’s fast, it’s fun and above all it is absolutely unapologetic to anyone who was just getting used to the idea of them being a band who duets with Elton John. Fall Out Boy may not have saved Rock and Roll, but they sure as hell just gave punk a shot in the arm.
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.