Twenty seconds after I clicked play, I thought I was losing my mind. Did I download the wrong album? After I double—no triple—checked, I finally realized that this CD, with music that sounded like it got plucked from a musical and smashed into a pile of rock instruments, was Fall Out Boy’s Folie A Deux. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or some kid who’s been overdosing on haterade, you’ve heard their tunes, you’ve seen their faces, and consciously or not, their lyrics have been imbibed in your memory and their melodies drift from your lips as whispered hums. Fall Out Boy, however, has pulled a Panic At The Disco, and the boys did a 357-degree turn from their trademark material. Fortunately, those 3 remaining degrees consisted of the band’s constants – unique, questionably relevant song titles and quotable lyrics.
The first track, “Disloyal Order Of Water Buffaloes,” introduces a softer, more church-like sound. Lines like “detox just to retox” and “imperfect boys with their perfect ploys” are guaranteed to be nailed into the teens’ unwritten book of catch phrases. The melody is somewhat spontaneous; the piano playing one second, the trumpets blaring another moment, and the organ coming out of nowhere, but they do it in a way where it all meshes together to sound epic.
After listening to the first track, I thought I had a pretty good idea of how the rest of the album was going to sound like, but boy was I wrong. The second track, “I Don’t Care,” has a hint of Shania Twain and an array of chants, claps, and guitar solos. Following the same consistent pattern of randomness as the previous tracks came “She’s My Winona” and “America’s Suitehearts.” Both songs bring glimpses of high-pitched vocals and symphonic instruments, those stuck-in-your-head-for-days “wa aoh oh ooh”s, and the album’s seemingly common chants and claps.
A semi-eerie melody introduced the album’s fifth track, “Headfirst Slide Into Cooperstown On A Bad Belt”—a mouthful, indeed. The song’s melody hops around from church choir to bad boy theme music. “The (Shipped) Gold Standard” and “(Coffee’s For Closers)” are both slightly different from the previous tracks, but at the same time, don’t whip out anything that’s jaw dropping. Then comes “What A Catch, Donnie.” Though this song is beautifully conducted with body-chilling vocals and a peaceful melody, the ending seemed nonexistent… Thankfully that ending arrived and the upbeat, blast-from-the-past song “27” awakened me.
I was over half way through with the album, and though I enjoyed most of the songs, I hadn’t heard the one track that would make me repetitively click the repeat button. Maybe it was a coincidence, or maybe it was destiny, but either way “Tiffany Blews” started to flow out of my speakers. The song slightly resembles material from The Cab and Cobra Starship swirled together and topped with an old school spin.
In “w.a.m.s. [feat. Pharrell],” the song fades away and is replaced with a raw, Johnny Cash sound - nothing but foot tapping and Patrick’s voice. “20 Dollar Nose Bleed [feat. Brendon Urie],” on the other hand, slams right into a replica Linkin Park sound and ends with an aggressive “and I said, I said.” In simple terms, I was shocked. The album concludes with “West Coast Smoker” and I was thoroughly confused. Why end this album, an album that impersonates an inspiring musical, with a song that could energize you through a two-hour workout?
I wouldn’t be surprised if this album was mistaken as a modern day musical soundtrack. Out of all of the components that make up an album – titles, lyrics, melodies, arrangement, etc. – Fall Out Boy’s fails to portray any obvious order. The album title itself translates into two people who have a close relationship that suffer from paranoia, and their new music mimics this. The album’s music and lack of order fit together to form a pack of songs that deserve to be listened to.
4 out of 5 [AH]