fall-out-boy-save-rock-and-roll-album-artworkIt takes cojones to claim you’re “saving rock and roll.” After blasting into the mainstream with 2005′s campy yet undeniably catchy emo-pop-rock single “Sugar We’re Goin’ Down,” Fall Out Boy have flirted with various un-rock forms of pop, along the way lyrically divulging the mindset in vying for your attention and dollar (see: “This Ain’t a Scene“). The destination post-hiatus after that is this album – equal parts everything top-40 but rock. Bassist and chief lyricist Pete Wentz have called the title a tongue-in-cheek joke, which is not uncommon for them, and it makes the gross mislabeling more humorous than angering. Here’s the five most oxymoronic lyrics from Save Rock and Roll.

The Phoenix

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It’s your first album in over four years: time for the old phoenix “from the ashes” metaphor. But things go south quickly. There’s nothing rock ‘n’ roll about “remixes.” Taking someone else’s work and mildly tweaking it electronically doesn’t fit the bill. Just ask Mr. Punk what he thinks of DJs. While the genre was stolen from black blues artists, at least rockers play instruments. Secondly, fashion has always played a role, but it’s utilized as a statement of difference from “squares;” the “I wear your vintage misery better” quip is just plain fetishism of the sassiest, shallowest kind: [LISTEN]

I’m gonna change you like a remix
Then I’ll raise you like a phoenix
You’re wearing our vintage misery
No; I think it looked a little better on me

Where Did the Party Go

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While this dance-pop jam doesn’t sound quite as “ravey” as “The Phoenix,” the lyrics certainly hint at pacifiers and glow-sticks: “All the boys are smoking menthols/Girls are getting backrubs.” However, the least rock part of it is vocalist Stump’s admittance to the grotesquely un-rock process of growing old, a theme throughout this otherwise cynically-commercial album. Whether targeting an audience of MTV mosh pits or dance floors, Fall Out Boy have always had an uncomfortable honesty in their lyrics, brutally shown here: [LISTEN]

We were the kids who screamed
“We weren’t the same”
In sweaty rooms
Now we’re doomed to organizing walk-in closets like tombs
Silent film stars stuck in talking cinema life
So let’s fade away together one dream at a time

Just One Yesterday

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“…Yesterday” may be the least rock track on the album. The opening melody is quite easily recognizable from Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep,” and it’s one of seven tracks on this album featuring the most cliché chords of all time – this abuse signalling a band’s trading their “rock” card for a full-fledged “pop” membership. As mentioned earlier, though, rock-and-roll doesn’t require originality, but it needs balls. This chorus, sitting atop those chords, signifies Fall Out Boy’s full transformation from emo-power-pop to adult contemporary that’s so bland, it borders on bitter: [LISTEN]

If heaven’s grief brings hell’s rain
Then I’d trade all my tomorrows for just one yesterday

Rat a Tat

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If anyone is a destroyer of rock, it’s Courtney Love – so who better to get on guest vocals? Sure, she technically (read: maybe) didn’t shoot grunge’s patron saint, but you don’t have to pull the trigger to kill a man slowly but surely. Regardless of public opinion, even after 20 years, it’s still in poor taste to drop “suicide” twice in a guest spot. Extra hypocrisy points for repping DIY when you’ve lived a philosophy of “not working jobs, (but just) getting financed:” [LISTEN]

No thesis existed for burning cities down at such a rampant rate
No graphics and no fucking powerpoint presentation
So they just DIY’d that shit and built their own bombs
She’s his suicide blond, she’s number than gold

Save Rock and Roll

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The title track goes full-on bad-ass for four seconds in the intro as Stump screams “So fuck you!/You can go cry me an ocean!” with grating angst before returning to the prepubescent, auto-tuned falsetto we’ve all come to know and accept. It’s time to take issue – sure, Wentz may have said the album title was a joke, but then FoB go and explicitly claim to be the “voice of their generation.” They’re apparently the “only saviors” of this dying genre, yet nothing on these 11 tracks remotely “rocks.” I call bullshit: [LISTEN]

Blood brothers in desperation
An oath of silence
For the voice of our generation
How’d it get to be only me?
Like I’m the last damn kid still kicking
That still believes

I will defend the faith
Going down swinging
I will save the songs
The songs we’re singing