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The Viper Vibe Felix Varela Senior High School Miami, FL
Issue Date: Monday, June 03, 2013 Issue: Vol. 12 Issue 6 Last Update: Tuesday, June 04, 2013

At-a-glance

Fall Out Boy saves rock and roll
Courtesy of Island -
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Rock and roll was saved on a Monday morning. 

By noon on February 4th, pop-punk frontrunners Fall Out Boy had announced the end of their three-year hiatus. In the same breath, announced a nationwide small venue tour  and put out a single. With an April 16th release date on Save Rock and Roll, fans barely had time to process the news, let alone follow the artistic process.

If those expectations did exist in some alternate universe, they were exceeded. It’s initially unclear what exactly we’re saving rock and roll from, but it’s very hard to care. While every song on the album is strong, there are definite highlights:

The Phoenix
The album kicks off with all the strength and immediacy of their comeback. “The Phoenix” wastes no time in using new sounds and skills to celebrate the band’s long-held commitment to fun and ferocity. It’s a catchy, motivating, danceable track. And if you don’t want to save the world by the end of it, you’re listening to it wrong.

Young Volcanoes
With sunshiny acoustic chords and clapping throughout, as well as catchy lyrics, this track is a celebration of youth in any age - the kind that wastes no time on urgency or promoting the vodka brand du jour. It’s the perfect summer song. It’s the perfect lay-on-your-bed song. It’s the perfect pick-me-up song. It’s an anthem, a love letter, and an act of defiance. Where “The Phoenix” makes you want to save the world, “Young Volcanoes” makes you happy to live in it.

Save Rock and Roll
Titular track “Save Rock and Roll” features Sir Elton John’s striking piano and vocals. It’s almost a ballad, and its rejection of mainstream apathy is stunning. The band here declares that they “don’t know when to quit.” That’s not a bad thing, especially with promisingly evocative songs like this one.
It’s also the most self-referential song of the album, kicking off with a throwback to “Chicago Is So Two Years Ago” off their debut album Take This To Your Grave and a later reference to “Sugar, We’re Going Down” off From Under the Corkboard - arguably the song that made them big.

These songs epitomize the band’s new philosophy:  grow up and progress, but don’t forget your roots. Don’t write off your past. Don’t be ashamed of your youth. Instead, look back on it regularly and honestly.

Coming off a three year break benefitted the band. It’s definitely still Fall Out Boy - there’s still angst, there’s still anger, there’s still sorrow. But for the most part it’s used as a catalyst for empowerment and a jaded optimism. And there’s happiness, too, the kind of happiness that other songs keep telling us are reserved for our youth.

Here’s the thing - Fall Out Boy is approaching middle age, but they’re not trying to grow up. The album definitely emphasizes a newfound maturity, not only in the musical style and vocals but in the lyrics. Still, it doesn’t devalue the emotions present in past albums.

In the end, Fall Out Boy saves rock and roll from cynicism and apathy. The album embraces the band’s past as well as current trends across all genres. It’s the kind of album that tells you you’re okay, no matter where you are in life. It makes you embrace every facet of your existence, end your personal pity parties, and make adventures out of any circumstance.

In “Death Valley,” Patrick Stump sings “What I’ve got will make you feel more alive.” That’s exactly what this album accomplishes. And for every young adult who finally thought they were done with Fall Out Boy, Save Rock and Roll is a reminder that you’re never too old for that particular brand of magic.


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