Fall Out Boy’s chameleon shift towards the pop music of the moment is both surprising and unsurprising, mildly disappointing and, as always, guiltily enjoyable.
“My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark” started bridging the way towards a more mainstream feel and now it’s completely arrived. Pop and Fall Out Boy have always been BFFS but some parts of American Beauty are still unsettling: “Fourth of July” with the cheesy hook “You and I were like fireworks”, feels one step from a club staple and the thuggish “what”s in the background of “Uma Thurman” should really stay on the rap songs they belong in.
Fall Out Boy are focused are being big-big hooks, big drops, big sing alongs, (see: “Irresistable” and the ambitious “Centuries”). Somehow it works, especially on the anthemic stomp of a title track, Stump boasting: “I’m the best, worst thing that hasn’t happened to you yet”. It also works on “Uma Thurman”, a fun jam full of 50s surf guitar licks and dark, sexy brass.
For fans of a more organic sound, Stump still has some high notes to hit with nostalgic ballad “The Kids Are Alright”, the modern romance of “Favorite Record” and distorted creepiness of “Novacaine”. It serves as a reassuring reminder that they’re still the same guys at heart-nothing wrong with adapting to the times, right?