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FALL OUT BOY: SAVE ROCK AND ROLL

Looks like after the three-year intermission, Fall Out Boy's going to need more than a visually arresting album cover to restore their pre-hiatus glory. Back then I rarely listened to Fall Out Boy besides on the radio, but I liked what I heard. Now, amid occasional warm spots, listening is something of a chore.

In Save Rock and Roll, there are a lot of question marks. For instance, if we're trying to save rock and roll, what's Big Sean doing here? (But I'll save elaborating on that judgment for later, especially because the album opens on the cutting edge of mediocre and Big Sean can only help the cause.)

Vanguards of the album are The Phoenix and My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark. Both songs are alike in that they graft good tunes with nettlesome ones. Patrick Stump's vocals alternate between strong notes and demanding, high pitches.

Oh look, Big Sean's here (finally) to introduce one of the album's stronger faces. Some more bothersome moments surface here and there, as expected. But when Big Sean pitches in, rap shakes hands with alternative rock in the most appealing song Save Rock and Roll has to offer.

Miss Missing You is another saving grace, with interestingly uncharacteristic beats against Stump's vocals. It adds some accessibility to an album to which listening can feel like work.

I don't really know what I was expecting from Fall Out Boy - they'd never truly impressed me before, so perhaps it's not them, it's me. I'm fine with that. But I don't think I'm being unfair in holding every album to a basic standard, and all I can say is that Save Rock and Roll required some washing down - yes, even with Big Sean and Elton John.

Available: Now

REVIEW: ***

REVIEW KEY

***** Can you marry a thing that's not a person?

**** Silver medals are still cool.

*** Nobody's perfect

** Its mom still loves it.

* No. Just, no.

Up next:DERBY DAY

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