American Beauty/American Psycho is the sixth studio album by Fall Out Boy. If I showed someone tracks from AB/AP and compared them to a few songs from their debut album Take This To Your Grave, other than Patrick Stump’s vocals, you wouldn’t think they were from the same group. Yes indeed the Fall Out Boy of 2015 is a completely different animal compared to back when they started.
It hasn’t been a sudden change though. Their sound has evolved through each album, developing as the matured and I’ve been with them every step of the way. Until now. It’s fair to say to that I prefer Fall Out Boy’s ‘old sound’. Yet even that is hard to define as each album is different, for argument I’ll say it is their first four records.
Save Rock and Roll is still a good album though. Even if it was the band biggest leap towards mainstream acceptance at that point. You could view it as an experimental album in some ways. Lots of different styles and ideas, some worked well while others were okay. It was Fall Out Boy trying to figure out what they wanted to do now.
They seem to have done that. However it’s something that I don’t enjoy. American Beauty/American Psycho is unfortunately the first album that I don’t like. From my perspective it sounds like they’ve taken everything I wasn’t sure about from Save Rock and Roll, turned it up to maximum. Thrown in some samples and called it a day. It’s an album I would describe as too much filler, not enough killer.
That’s not saying I don’t like anything about the album, there are a few songs that I can enjoy. Centuries for example is undeniably excellent. It’s just that the rest of the songs can’t keep up. Let me put it this way. When the record first came out I had it in my car for two straight weeks. However, by the end would skip past the majority of the songs to get to the couple that I could enjoy. Since then it’s left my car, been placed on a shelf and forgotten about. It hasn’t even been added to my digital music collection.
Aside from that I don’t find the majority of the songs fundamentally interesting or listenable. My biggest problem is that you can no longer hear most of what the band are actually playing. It’s all hidden deep down behind synthesisers and samples. Andy Hurley is a talented drummer but is completely wasted here. Alternatively, for all I know this album could contain the greatest guitar rift ever written. We’ll never know though as you won’t be able to hear it.
Fall Out Boy aimed for the mainstream market with this release, but failed to bring this long time fan along with them. For me, this album was the biggest disappoint of 2015.