Fall Out Boy's "Folie a Deux"

"Honestly, we have never been a critically acclaimed band or 'cool' band, but we have always moved the needle because of our fans and we don't want that to change." Fall Out Boy bassist/lyricist Pete Wentz wrote that blog entry a few weeks before finishing "Folie a Deux," the band's fourth full-length album. Although the group has grown exponentially in its seven-year existence--from an opening band at VFW Halls to headlining arenas and topping the music charts--there's a consistency to the group that can't be measured simply by record or ticket sales. "Folie" may not initially sound like the same band that was berthed in the Chicago punk/hardcore scene, but it inhabits the same spirit. It's adventurous, vibrant and, catchy--all characteristics that the band and its fan base have come to expect over the last decade.

Remarkably, "Folie a Deux" feels both like result of seven years of hard work and something that could only be produced right now. It's both cynical and hopeful, lyrically and musically challenging, personal and political, and easily the most diverse record FOB has ever recorded. This is what "Folie" isn't: a "grown up" record (read: boring, middle-of-the-road); if anything, the album--whose title translates as "a madness shared by two"--is the most hard-hitting album in the band's career. That fact is made abundantly clear during the first single, "I Don't Care"; over a heavy percussive stomp, Stump wails "I don't care what you think/as long as it's about me." The joke here is that, while the song has the feel of a great glam rock anthem (a la Gary Glitter), the sing-along features a rather "awful" message, according to the singer. "People don't care about anything but the superficial, and that's tragic," he says. "So this is sort of an ironic anthem. You almost don't want to sing along to it. I wanted people to be confronted by the message."

Musically, "Folie" finds the band heading out into a number of new, often epic directions, from Beatlesque harmonies ("America's Suitehearts," "20 Dollar Nose Bleed") to the symphonic flourishes throughout "Coffee's for Closers." Most impressive is "What a Catch, Donnie," a slow-building, all-star singalong featuring Elvis Costello, Panic at the Disco's Brendon Urie, Gym Class Heroes frontman Travis McCoy, Alex deLeon of The Cab and William Beckett of The Academy Is. For fans of the groove-oriented approach utilized on last year's "Infinity on High," the record ups that ante as well. Lil Wayne makes an appearance on the hip-hop tinged "Tiffany Blews," while a robotic funk drives The Neptunes-produced "w.a.m.s" and the first half of "Headfirst Slide Into Cooperstown on a Bad Bet" (which eventually gives way to a more grand, piano-based rocker).

In the end, "Folie a Deux" is simply the artistic statement Fall Out Boy wanted to make in 2008. "I love this record, [but] do I think anyone else is going to love it? I really don't know," Stump wondered recently. "Why do we make records? Because we want to say something. The second you don't have anything to say, you stop making art -- you might start making product. And I'm interested in being an artist."

The new album of Fall Out Boy, Folie A Deux is available in Special Deluxe Edition that contains bonus tracks with acoustic and other versions of the songs in the album. It is also available in Special Philippines Edition at Odyssey, Astrovision, Music One and Fully Booked stores nationwide.

- January 2009