folie a deux and renewing my FOB vows

I’ve slowly begun to realize over the years that I can’t have specific expectations when it comes to a new Fall Out Boy album.  They have progressively gotten less and less “punk” since the release of Evening Out with Your Girlfriend, but the punk genre has changed significantly, and come to think of it, so have I, so nothing can really be pigeon-holed anymore.

folie a deux

When Infinity on High came out in Feb 2007, I was hoping for a sweet follow-up to From Under the Cork Tree (2005), an album that really changed my life and helped me define precisely what was going on in my head and heart. What I got instead with IOH was a popped-out, glittery version of FOB. I couldn’t even listen to “I’m Like a Lawyer With the Way I’m Always Trying to Get You Off” and even “Golden” without almost throwing up in my mouth. I was immediately disappointed in how the Hollywood spotlight had affected the music and lyrics (Jay Z?), but after awhile I grew to accept that they write about what they’re going through at the time. So while some of the past albums were about broken hearts, betrayal of friends, and clawing through darkest times of growing up, IOH consequently had to be about getting immensely famous, navigating the scene and the ups and downs of being rock stars.

In any case, the way that IOH strayed so far from their ever-amazing Take This To Your Grave caused my stubbornness about it to last longer than necessary.  But that’s how it works, right, things change and you gotta roll with the punches (hey, I ended up loving Pretty.Odd. after practically throwing a fit about it being the polar opposite of A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out).  So I rolled, and upon further investigation I did end up finding tracks and messages on this album that resonated with me deeply (and proceeded to fully relay these feelings to the band one very late night at Angels & Kings…yikes). The references to the movie “Closer” and the hidden significance behind the lyrics in each song is enough to give me shivers, almost (you can check out the meanings in this wikipedia entry, although some of them are simply hearsay or assumptions), but still, IOH was not a blow-my-mind album. The only songs I really listened to with any type of addictive repetitition were “Thriller” and “Thnks fr th Mmrs.” I was left a little unfulfilled by the album as a whole and began to mourn the loss of their old style.

Almost 2 years later (wow, has it really been that long?), in walks Folie a Deux, according to Pete, it’s “THE RETURN” of Fall Out Boy. From the get-go, this album had special meaning for me just due to the enchantingly disturbed title. Folie a Deux refers to a psychological disorder described as “a madness shared by two.” I knew this album would have significance for me even though I hadn’t heard a single track. I couldn’t pronounce it, but I loved it. This is strongly due to the fact that I found out about the title during the exact time when I met someone who I realized I felt this madness about (and he just happens to have the same middle name as Pete, what are the odds?).  Could it be, another FOB album that would have an earth-shaking effect on my life? I know it sounds dramatic, but every feeling I have tends to be on the extreme side.  That being said, I waited in anticipation to see what cross-overs I’d see between Pete’s lyrics and my soul stirrings this time around.

With the talk of Folie a Deux actually coming out, I didn’t know what to think. I let all expectations fall to the wayside as I listened to the first couple of  singles.  On December 9th, they released the full album onto their MySpace page. Here’s my initial feelings about the songs, which I’m sure will change after I listen to each one a few hundred more times.

The (Shipped) Gold Standard – Wow, am I imagining things or does the beginning of this song totally channel Catherine Wheel’s Black Metallic?  I swear, when Patrick sings “I want to scream I love you from the top of my lungs” with the Black Metallic-esque background music, it brought tears to my eyes it was so good.

West Coast Smoker – This is a power song.  Debbie Harry blesses us with her guest vocals on this track, and Pete gets a little screamo in there as well.  I don’t think you can go wrong with that combination.

20 Dollar Nose Bleed – I was digging on this song hard the first time I heard it, and right as it came on I realized it totally reminded me of something Panic would have added to Pretty.Odd.  Then I was like “Wow, I never realized how much Patrick’s voice sounds like Brendan Urie, this is insane.” Sure enough, I soon realized that it IS Brendan, and this song hits the nail on the head as far as a neo-FOB/PATD duet.

Disloyal Order of Water Buffalo – This is actually one of the better songs on the album. Starts out like a ballad, mildly channels power-chording reminicent of “Teenage Wasteland,” and goes on to sound like something that could have been on FUTCT (although the chanting of “detox just to retox” is a little cheesy sounding).
America’s Suitehearts –  The beginning of this song is like a drumroll, like something amazing is about to happen. Then, suddenly it sort of reminds me (wince) of “I’m Like a Lawyer…” with the catchy/poppy chorus, but somehow more likeable. This song is full of cliched classic Pete writing “why won’t the world revolve around me?” and “I must confess, I’m in love with my own sins.” Emo-tastic.

27- When this song begins I find myself wondering if it’ll stop sounding so generic. But, I do like the sound of this chorus. The line “I’ve got a lot of friends who are stars, but some are just black holes” is pretty funny. Reminicent of FUTCT’s song title, “Champagne for my real friends, real pain for my sham friends.”

w.a.m.s. – The beginning of this song sounds like it’s going to be a little hardcore, but I can’t actually hope for that much at this point in the game. Actually, far from hardcore – in fact, we’ve got Pharrell involved. Not sure if I’m a fan of this song overall, but I do really like the lines “I’m gonna leave you, I’m gonna teach you how we’re all alone” and “I want to get stuck in your memories.” But yo, what’s with the bluesy shit at the end?

She’s My Winona- Once again, some of this song sounds like something that could have been on a FUTCT b-side. Yes! I love the line “hell or glory, I don’t want anything in between.”  The song is catchy.

(Coffee’s for Closers)– I like the Glengarry Glen Ross reference of course, but at first listen, this song doesn’t do a lot for me. It sounds like once again, Pete is writing about his struggle with fame and letting us know that he’s still “damaged.”

Tiffany Blews- Yeah, this song once again reminds me of my beloved Cork Tree jams.  Maybe it’s only because they sing about a little black dress…”Oh, baby, you’re a classic, just like a little black dress (but you’ll be faded soon).” This makes me think of that old line “With your backless black dress soaked to the skin.” Either way, this one isn’t one of the most memorable, but it’s a keeper.

I Don’t Care- I couldn’t not like this song when I heard the first line – “Say my name and his in the same breath, I dare you to say they taste the same.” Hello…totally the same feel as “He tastes like you, only sweeter.” Right? As far as this song being a single, I understand where they’re coming from but it’s not as great as “Sugar” or “Thks.” In fact, the shouting of “I don’t care” gets a bit annoying after just a few listens.

Headfirst slide into Cooperstown on a Bad Bet- The beat to this song is good, and sounds like something off of Infinity on High. And the whole “Does your husband know the way the sunshine gleams from your wedding band?” thing – is that the grown-up version of “Where is your boy tonight?” Ooh, I see patterns…Wait…what’s going on here? This song and “What a Catch, Donnie” have the exact same LINE in them! “I will never end up like him, behind my back I already am. Keep a calendar, this way you will always know.”  TRIPPY. That actually really confused me the first few times I heard these songs.

What a Catch, Donnie –This song is interesting because it incoroporates a lot of guest vocals (see below) and lines from old Fall Out Boy singles – for me, there’s really no way I can’t like this song, especially because they sing a line from one of their real old school punky songs, “Growing Up.” Other FOB song lines include “Sugar We’re Going Down” (sung by GCH’s Travie), “Dance, Dance,” “Grand Theft Autumn,” “This Ain’t A Scene,”and “Thnks fr th Mmrs.”

  • Elvis Costello – Guest vocals on What a Catch, Donnie
  • Lil Wayne – Guest vocals on Tiffany Blews
  • Brendon Urie – Guest vocals on What a Catch, Donnie and 20 Dollar Nose Bleed
  • Gabe Saporta – Guest vocals on What a Catch, Donnie
  • Travis McCoy – Guest vocals on What a Catch, Donnie
  • Doug Neumann – Guest vocals on What a Catch, Donnie
  • Alex DeLeon – Guest vocals on What a Catch, Donnie and Tiffany Blews
  • William Beckett – Guest vocals on What a Catch, Donnie
  • Pharrell Williams – Guest vocals on w.a.m.s.
  • Debbie Harry – Guest vocals on West Coast Smoker

So, after much consideration, I think Fall Out Boy really did a great job of what I’m calling a combination album- sticking to their new-school way of including famous guest stars and trying to make things larger than life, while also getting back in touch with their roots and bringing back a little of the old school lyrics and sound. This album is better than Infinity on High. Of course my heart will always be with the older albums, but this is way more than I expected from the boys.

And, we’re BACK IN THE GAME.


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