Fall Out Boy - Folie √° Deux (Cover Artwork)

Fall Out Boy

Fall Out Boy: Folie √° DeuxFolie √° Deux (2008)
Island Records

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:

Contributed by: cyborgfrancecyborgfrance
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Outside of his main gig as drummer for Fall Out Boy, Andy Hurley shares a house with four of his close friends that, due to a shared love of "Arrested Development," is called Fuck City. Thing is, the inhabitants of Fuck City -- why not? -- also go by the name of Fuck City. The spirit of Fuck City an.
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Outside of his main gig as drummer for Fall Out Boy, Andy Hurley shares a house with four of his close friends that, due to a shared love of "Arrested Development," is called Fuck City. Thing is, the inhabitants of Fuck City -- why not? -- also go by the name of Fuck City. The spirit of Fuck City and its/their shenanigans is summed up in the following anecdote from Hurley's blog: "The best line ever said, eve‚?¶ was said by our best friend, Irke. it had to do with setting a bunch of shit on fire...in the house, and Irke saying 'LET'S TAKE IT TOO FAR.' Haha. I wonder what too far would have consisted of." On these qualities alone, it's worth pointing out the irony that the new Fall Out Boy album also goes far‚?¶but it doesn't go quite far enough. Irke may be disappointed right now.

It's not due to a lack of trying, though. The Chicago outfit's fifth album, Folie √¡ Deux, is produced by Neal Avron, who has a track record in making big bands sound enormous. Whole string and horn sections add flavour to multiple songs. Pharrell Williams co-writes one song (the dance jam "w.a.m.s.") for the hell of it. Guests such as Debbie Harry, Lil Wayne, Elvis Costello and old friend Brendan Urie (Panic at the Disco) appear, usually only for a couple of lines. For goodness' sake, the title is "a madness shared by two" in French -- such unwavering commitment to the ridiculous has to be admirable (vocalist Patrick Stump even admits it on opening track "Disloyal Order of Water Buffalo": "Hey Doctor, I'm certifiable!"). You can't say that Fall Out Boy do things by halves.

But that's what brings Folie √¡ Deux down. Where their previous album, Infinity on High, was fun, capturing a regular pop-punk band tinkering with all the toys major label money could buy, Folie can sometimes drag, mired down by its ambitions to make a Big Point. Case in point: "The (Shipped) Gold Standard," which attempts to address gay rights, the financial crisis and personal disillusionment in its lyrics and turns out overcooked. Lyricist / bassist / media tart / public whipping boy (etc.) Pete Wentz, a long-time advocate of twisty wordplay, can make good on his ambitions -- by eschewing his favourite topic (i.e. himself), "America's Sweethearts" becomes an enjoyably cynical take on the cult of celebrity, or even, as is rumoured, the Presidential election ("you can bow and pretend that you don't know you're a legend‚?¶ / I know you've heard this all before"); poignant album highlight "(Coffee's for Closers)" captures reluctantly growing old and disheartened with everything. "Change will come," sings Stump on the chorus, accompanied by a crescendo of strings, "But I will never believe in anything again." These are the good lines. When Wentz isn't focused, there's clunkers about pant-heatwaves, dating Roberta Flack and this line from "Gold Standard": "One time my Dad caught me a horseshoe crab / and I asked him if throwing it into the sea / would bring our luck back?" Which makes no sense. At all.

To crib an idea from Scott Heisel's review of the album, the sequencing places all the regular Fall Out Boy touchstones (sly pop-punk on "America's Sweethearts," car sing-alongs on "She's My Winona," barely restrained sex talk on "Headfirst Slide Into Cooperstown on a Bad Bet") on the first seven songs -- side A -- before the collaboration-heavy final six kicks in with "What a Catch, Donnie" -- side B. The first side's closer of "(Coffee's for Closers)" and "Donnie" are easily two of the best things this band have done, showcasing unabashed creativity and, yes, a shared madness. "Donnie" is from the Queen school of silly, drenched in slushy strings and pseudo-philosophical lyrics and closing with what is pretty much the entire Decaydance roster reprising choruses from previous Fall Out Boy songs. Oh, including Elvis Costello, who sings one line from "Headfirst Slide" before ghosting completely. (No Dan Yemin, sadly.) On the Unintentionally Hilarious Ideas scale, this potentially marks as a fifteen and two-thirds, but the whole thing is performed with such unsubtle panache that it works. Trouble is, from here there's really nowhere else to go. There's an odd lapse in energy after this one-two punch and even though there's some really good material remaining, a sense of disappointment clouds the second half of the album, not helped by the duff pub-rock experiment "27" and plodding finale "West Coast Smoker."

So, Folie √¡ Deux is grand and ambitious, but not as grand and ambitious as you may want it to be (haters and fans alike). It's still a good power-pop record -- the musicianship has improved to the point that Fall Out Boy no longer sound like an actual band and less the Pete Wentz Show -- but where Infinity on High threw itself into Vegas pop with wild abandon, its followup only really dips its toes in. It skims the edge of madness.

Come back, Irke; all is forgiven.


People who liked this also liked:
Blink-182 - Enema of the StateJoy Division - Unknown PleasuresAndrew Jackson Jihad - People Who Can Eat People Are the Luckiest People in the WorldEvery Time I Die - The Big DirtyFlight of the Conchords - Flight of the ConchordsRadiohead - In RainbowsThe Loved Ones - DistractionsThe Thermals - Now We Can SeeNirvana - In UteroTokyo Police Club - Elephant Shell

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
thebreaksover (February 7, 2011)

Hey idiots.
Ever seen these guys play live?
Patrick's voice is insanity.

dbug (February 24, 2009)

Pussiest band alive. They DISCUST!!! me.

cyborgfrance (January 9, 2009)

uhhhareyouserious: even if you are a troll like I believe, thanks for the headup. It's still an awkward as hell lyric, though.

I appreciate your comments, guys - even the slightly-flamey ones (because they're hilarious mostly). It's cool to have constructive criticism - that first paragraph actually annoyed me for weeks. Maybe simplifying it for the next one...

Chuckfart (January 9, 2009)

Words cannot express how much fuck this band
Why does anyone even bother talking about that shit on punknews.org? I cannot comment about the review since I haven't read it.
Score is for their bus crashing into a brick wall at 80 MPH

drbino (January 9, 2009)

This band is the music equivelant of poo on a stick.

It's like there's a party in my mouth and everyone's throwing up.

hayman (January 8, 2009)

I love fall out boy! This is the album of 09

KorbenDallas (January 8, 2009)

i'm sure I would still like Take This To Your Grave since i did when it came out, but because of all subsequent releases I can't even listen to it on principle

twstdbydsn (January 8, 2009)

fuck this band in it's stupid ass.

miniblindbandit (January 8, 2009)

my eyes. the goggles do nothing.

joemomma420666 (January 8, 2009)

i bet pete wentz and partick stump make out all the time lol not punk

steveman (January 7, 2009)

I'm a bit ashamed to say I liked parts of this album. It's been quite awhile since I've cared about anything this band has done, but this is just a solid pop album. I think it's fair to say we waved bye bye to the punk aspects awhile ago.

The review was good, and pretty spot on.

mfohio (January 7, 2009)

The score is for the nut I just busted before coming to pn.org.

scorpiondeathlock (January 7, 2009)

score is for the fact that, based on record sales, not even 14 year old girls give a shit about this band anymore.

internettroll (January 7, 2009)

Score is for Hot Shots! Part Deux

Grue (January 7, 2009)

The two songs that I had a displeasure hearing were absolutely horrible. I have no idea how anyone could enjoy this band.

etwiels88 (January 7, 2009)

Also, lol at thomas7155 for being an extremely typical punknews poster...

etwiels88 (January 7, 2009)

Great album. Every time they release something new I like it better than the previous material.

Ravnos (January 7, 2009)

Whatever your opinion on these guys, posting this review here is kind of masturbatory. Pretty much everyone on this site has their minds made up about Fall Out Boy already, so this isn't likely to change any minds or make anyone check this out. Not a bad review, it just seems pointless to post here.

zombie-guru (January 7, 2009)

I had a bad feeling this would get a positive review.

mikexdude (January 7, 2009)

i thought this was PUNKnews.org lol

warmchords (January 7, 2009)


warmchords (January 7, 2009)

where are all the, "i thought this was punknews.org?" comments? i have to say, people, i'm pretty let down

we all hot schooled during the anchors hiphop reviews og '08 lol

donovanjames (January 7, 2009)

Score is for the review. One of the better ones on the website, and is a coherent and well written piece of writing, and by about 80%, gets the record right.

fallingupwards84 (January 7, 2009)

where are all the, "i thought this was punknews.org?" comments? i have to say, people, i'm pretty let down

Slazey (January 7, 2009)

Long-winded introduction aside, this was a well-structured and balanced bit of writing. A couple of listens to the album aren't doing too much for me, but 'tis a decent review.

INDW (January 7, 2009)

look, the review is decent enough and at least it was posted by someone who seems to care, a bit, which makes in more worthwhile than what I was expecting i.e. a two paragraph rant akin to most of the comments below

Cos (January 7, 2009)

Hi. I'm on the internet, and I have an opinion on Fall Out Boy.

Bipedcasserole (January 7, 2009)

Thorough review, although you're obviously a wee bit biased (see: the entire first paragraph, in which the author cites a relatively obscure blog known only to fanboys and band member's parents).

Still though, sweet tits.

punkinohio (January 7, 2009)

Fair review, I'm suprised. This cd is actually good!

damnitsderek (January 7, 2009)

The entire first paragraph of this review is really unnecessary.

Dudley_Shale (January 7, 2009)

Are those two bears humping?

nocigar (January 7, 2009)

one...of....the....worst....excuses.....for.....a.....band.....e ver.

sugarfull (January 6, 2009)

"I'm an ideas man Michael; I think I proved that with 'fuck mountain'"

warmchords (January 6, 2009)

maybe i'm just tired as fuck, but i can not understand the first paragraph

mattramone (January 6, 2009)

follow the douche

mcgregor107 (January 6, 2009)

FallOutBoy fights?

mikexdude (January 6, 2009)

Why is this here?!?! you might as well review Rihanna.

Damn! Now you gave away my surprise!

thomas7155 (January 6, 2009)

Why is this here?!?! you might as well review Rihanna.

Apeman_on_the_moon (January 6, 2009)

Just tell us if you like the record, we don't give a shit about stuff like that first paragraph. Too many reviewers get too longwinded when reviewing something. It's music, you either like it, or you don't, no need for all this other garbage.

telegraphrocks (January 6, 2009)

Haven't heard this (or the last one), but From Under The Cork Tree is embarrassingly catchy.

elliot (January 6, 2009)

Two members of Misery Signals also live at Andy Hurley's house. Can we get confirmation that Fuck City is actually an Arrested Development reference? Because if it is, then I love those guys even more.

Wesley_Snipes (January 6, 2009)

Score is for Ashlee Simpson.

holy_balls (January 6, 2009)

foil a deuce. poopie shitty.

HumanUnkind (January 6, 2009)

This reviewer needs more Cowbell. ;-)

MrStylson (January 6, 2009)

Dante, thanks to boredom and an unfortunate sense of self-loathing, I did some youtube research, and no. They still can't.

I'm going to go gouge out an ear or something.

mikexdude (January 6, 2009)

Yes, sadly deadelectromix, this wasn't me.

After listening to this and watching the Colbert special, Elvis Costello really can't save what's destined to be shit.

Archangel (January 6, 2009)

Holy god I stopped at the end of the first paragraph. What did I just read?

deadelectromix (January 6, 2009)

I was surprised mikey didn't review this, that rascal.

llmp (January 6, 2009)

Sorry, but I couldn't make it past the first paragraph.

Rastid (January 6, 2009)

score is for appropriate pedobear on the cover.

uhhhareyouserious (January 6, 2009)

are you serious? horseshoe crabs represent luck for humans. thus the reason for asking his dad whether or not throwing the horseshoe crab would bring back the love that once existed between him and his girl -- he'd be lucky to have that back.

Dante3000 (January 6, 2009)

That first paragraph reads like the reviewers opinion of the album, it attempts to be grand but comes up way short. Also, something is written incorrectly making it awkward as hell.

Secondly, does anyone know if these kids can actually play live yet?

mikexdude (January 6, 2009)

Score is for Elvis Costello. Closet racist or not, he's a genius.

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