A near perfect pop album

Carl J. Bachus | culture editor

2013 seems to be the year of the comeback. From Justin Timberlake to Tim McGraw to Destiny’s Child, once loved acts are coming out of the woodwork to deliver new material to legions of fans who have been waiting for years.
It’s safe to say that of all of the comeback efforts this year, Fall Out Boy’s new album, “Save Rock and Roll,” has to be the least disappointing.
“Roll,” the follow-up to 2008’s less than impressive “Folie à Deux,” is much more fun than any Fall Out Boy’s previous efforts.
It’s all over the place without feeling forced. The LP finds the band catching up with current music trends, but they never make too big of a deal out of it.
A featured rap verse here and a dubstep drop there make for a solid set of inspired tunes with a medley of hooky choruses.
The album is very pop-oriented. The band’s signature, riff-heavy scream and shout motif has been replaced with a more Journey-like sensibility.
The tracks are heavy on the percussion and make pretty good use of echo effects to give certain tracks a sense of epic scale.
Unfortunately, the album isn’t terribly cohesive and, at times, it feels as though some of the songs try a bit too hard to be arena-ready.
Fall Out Boy takes inspiration from a number of different musical avenues. One standout track, the Human League-influenced “Where Did the Party Go,” is particularly groovy.
The mix of synths and frontman Patrick Stump’s vocals make the song a nice throwback to the mechanical, R&B-influenced pop of the mid-80s.
“Roll” also features a diverse mix of collaborators, including Detroit rapper Big Sean, indie songstress Foxes and even Courtney Love.
The lyrical content contains themes of social unrest and anarchy that contrast the instrumental content quite effectively.
Stump’s vocals are on point, as usual. This album, in particular, lets his versatility run wild. Stump can sing up-tempo rock anthems and sweeping ballads and adjust his vocals accordingly. In fact, this may be some of his best vocal work to date.
The album’s best moment, however, comes at the tail end in the form of the epic title song, “Save Rock and Roll.”
The Elton John-assisted track is a true-to-form arena rocker among a few songs that seemed a bit overzealous. The inclusion of John gives the track an undeniable gravitas, and it’ll be a crime if this song isn’t getting heavy radio play by summer.
“Save Rock and Roll” is a mediocre rock album, a decent R&B album and a near perfect pop album. It isn’t going to revitalize the pop-rock genre, but it might gain Fall Out Boy some new fans.
It’s as ambitious as it is eclectic, and is sure to be recognized as one of the band’s best, if not its best album to date.

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