But also its most fun. Since their debut album in 2003, Take This to Your Grave, Fall Out Boy have followed a simple formula to mainstream success: huge, goofy anthems that are brilliant in their obviousness. Take “Dance, Dance,” for instance, a song you might hate, but can almost certainly recognize before a single word is uttered. The kick of the drums, the bass line lumbering like a giant, the shake of the tambourine — it’s a recipe for a great pop-rock song, which “Dance, Dance” is, as is the title track from the band’s new album, Save Rock and Roll.
It’s an ambitious closing track, prepackaged to raise hands at multi-thousand-seat arenas. It’s also a call to arms for both the band and its fans. “I cried tears you will never see,” moans Patrick Stump, his strained voice echoing endlessly, before adding, “so f*ck you, you can go cry me an ocean and leave me be.” Soon after, following the stomped-drum chorus, Elton John swoops in, multiplying the song’s closed-eye intensity and giving it a pop star credibility that Fall Out Boy circa 2013 lacks. Is it ridiculous? Yup. Does it make you want to hold a lighter in the air? OH YEAH.
Fall Out Boy don’t save rock and roll on their album, but they sure as hell make it sound fun.