Artist: Fall Out Boy
Album: Folie à Deux
Comments: Part of me wonders if there is any merit in reviewing a Fall Out Boy album. I am aware that most, if not all, of the people who check this blog have already made their minds up about the band and no review will change their opinions. So I suppose it is under the weak guise of journalism that I tell you all about Folie à Deux, the latest from your tween cousin's favorite hit-makers.
Some may be surprised to hear me say this, but after spinning this album a few times, its not void of merit. What sets FOB apart from other flash-in-the-pan pop acts is their apparent desire to grow and develop their music. Most pop bands put out one or two albums of samey, meaningless drivel before falling apart under their own lack of substance. Folie à Deux does find the band trying to push emo-pop in new directions, which is more than can be said for 90% of radio bands. For that, the boys deserve some praise, however small.
Of course, the goodwill this created is almost immediately betrayed by the overall shittness of the record. The band strives for change, not within songwriting or structure, but within hyper-clean production and over-the-top studio additions. Considering that FOB has lived and died on their (often overblown and occasionally mediocre) dramatic choruses, for them to add string arrangements and orchestral elements to songs already about to fall apart at their own ham-handedness is like over inflating a truck tire. Recipe for disaster (and sever tire damage).
The moments on this album that aren't over the top garbage are just downright strange. Lead single "I Don't Care" sounds like a Rhianna song without the benefit Rhianna's unexplainable Midas touch. Also puzzling is "What a Catch, Donnie" which climaxes with literally every chorus from all the band's previous hit singles dating back to their first album. While I assume there is some kind of explanation for this, all it really does is showcase how interchangeable and benign the band's work has been.
Is Folie à Deux un-listenable? Not at all. The songs are catchy and mindless and occasionally border on clever. Odds are good that if you liked the band's previous efforts, you'll like this. But this album won't change any minds, and despit good intentions does nothing to lift Fall Out Boy's punchline status in the world of "serious" (read: pretentious) music listeners.
(PS: Lil Wayne makes an appearance on this album, furthering my belief that his is the most brilliant and insane public figure in some time and that drugs will take his life within the next 10 years.)
(PSS: This video has nothing to do with this album. It just cracks me up)
Rating: 2 out of 10
Key Tracks: None
Buy, Steal, Skip: Skip