<i>Folie A Deux</i> experiments, but not enough
Fall Out Boy caters to Top 40 listeners and MTV fans with new album.
Dec. 09, 2008
Fall Out Boy's fifth studio album, Folie A Deux, is named after a psychiatric concept similar to paranoia or delusion, explaining the phenomenon of transmitting madness from one individual to another. Folie A Deux (translated as "madness shared by two") is an incredibly appropriate title to the new album, as it spreads insanity to anyone who listens to it. The album is centered on shallow pseudo-relationships and meaningless edgy phrases, such as "detox just to retox" ("Disloyal Order of Water Buffaloes") or "I wanna scream I love you from the top of my lungs, but I'm afraid that someone else will hear me," ("The [Shipped] Gold Standard"). The album seems to have no large idea or message and simply caters to pre-teen pop rock and generic faux-hardcore emo music created by the corporate music world. Most annoying are the song titles, which have little to no relevance to song content, a concept — started by Panic at the Disco's A Fever You Can't Sweat Out — that needs to die quickly. The album as a whole is unsurprisingly boring, with whiny lyrics and a constant tempo throughout. Although Fall Out Boy obviously strived to include more musical merit on this album by incorporating something other than annoyingly-distorted power chords, (electronic synth and a bit of orchestra) Folie A Deux still falls short of originality. This could also stem from the fact that the band uses cameos, such as Lil Wayne on "Tiffany Blews," obviously playing it safe by using recognizable figures Top 40 radio listeners and MTV fanatics will appreciate. While Fall Out Boy was never exactly considered edgy, Folie A Deux leaves a yearning for the creative, tongue-in-cheek lyrical phrases of their third album, From Under the Cork Tree. One would expect that by the fifth album a band would tire of overplayed guitar riffs and melancholy vocals, but Fall Out Boy does nothing exceptionally out of the ordinary. It would be nice to see more variation in Patrick Stump's vocals and less overpowering guitar. One interesting aspect of Folie A Deux is its throw back to '80s pop and electronica. Nostalgia sets in with the hard beats, hair-metal guitar solos and dark vocals of "Headfirst Slide Into Coopestown On A Bad Bet," "Tiffany Blews" and "I Don't Care." Also enjoyable is the song "What A Catch, Donnie," with its tambourine beat, appearance from Elvis Costello and orchestra outro that, though it starts off slowly, finishes phenomenally. "What A Catch, Donnie" is a good parallel to the album, as it starts off poorly but finishes on a good note with "20 Dollar Nose Bleed" and "West Coast Smoker." Overall, there is a lack of distinction from track to track throughout the album. While some songs have an aspiration to be something inspiring or inventive, they fall short. Hopefully on Fall Out Boy's next album the band will actually continue its ambition to have ingenuity and complete the process of greatness. Although Folie A Deux is a definite improvement after Infinity On High, Fall Out Boy still has a ways to go to break out of the pop-punk rut it is in. Thanks for the album, Fall Out Boy, even though it wasn't so great.