Fall Out Boy: Make America Psycho Again

Fall Out Boy have comfortably nestled themselves on pop thrones, but that does not stop them from hashing out an average remix album.
Fall Out Boy
Make America Psycho Again

Would it be too early in Fall Out Boy’s career to reflect upon Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “Ozymandias”? Upon the release of American Beauty/American Psycho, the question was very pertinent. Within “Centuries”, “Immortals”, and “Jet Pack Blues”, the Chicago band find themselves in front of a mirror in a way akin to Drake’s self-admiration, basking in the idea that they would be remembered after their end. A new step for the band would be to create an album comprised of features. Fall Out Boy have risen to be emperors, and though Make America Psycho Again is a dull excuse for a remix record, several features make it so that the ride is at least bearable.

What this record considers a remix – -in the sense of instrumentation — is a minimal change that seldom bolsters what could be tracks appropriate for a dance floor. Fall Out Boy have gracefully broke into the mainstream spotlight with Save Rock and Roll, making their songs fit into pop culture artefacts like commercials, movies, and those episodes of The Voice that attempt to transform a poppy, fire-starting tune into a cringe-inducing, slow-tempo joke. With that power, the remixes should at least feel right for a toe-tap, even the awkward ones in the band’s “Dance Dance” music video. Sadly, a majority of the album’s background melodies fall flat.

That sound quality you get when your broken earphones are playing on stereo? That sound-siphoned feeling is trapped within the remix for “Centuries”. With “Favorite Records”, ILoveMakonnen does not use his R&B style to save the track from its minimal beat, instead mostly mimicking Patrick Stump’s lyricism. It does not help that the original song is atrocious in its simplicity, a problem that is contrasted in “American Beauty/American Psycho”, which is, in both its remix and original take, a track that has no idea where it is going. If Kendrick Lamar came in, even he would not know how to fix such a nightmare.

The worst sin that the album incorporates is featuring Wiz Khalifa on “Uma Thurman”. While the take still has life–although not its complete vitality–with its drums and bass, Khalifa feels that instead of making references to Uma Thurman’s filmography, he should represent himself. What could have been a club banger turns into a soiled wreck that not even Stump’s pitch-shifted vocals could assist. While UZI’s verse on “Novocaine” barely feels related to the content, his style can be appreciated. Khalifa almost always seems like he is chasing a laser pointer when he is featured on pop songs. In spite of these cracks in the road, there are features that actually are well done.

In “Jet Pack Blues”, Big K.R.I.T spends a lot of time connecting to the title of the song, what it means, and how to evoke the proper emotion while the noir notes create a silent, rainy night. The rap-pop combination actually creates the blues, doing something that the band might not have envisioned without the collaboration. It is in this material that Fall Out Boy might have their eyes opened to different genres. Black Thought’s verses on “Immortals” look at the race politics that have exploded within and outside of Ferguson, Michigan, and other locations in the states. Exploring the deep space beat in the background, the rapper extends upon the original track’s lyrics reflecting a dream that might not be reached–about what it means to be immortal. “Twin Skeleton’s (Hotel in NYC)” builds enough space for Joey Bada$$ to explore a catchy flow while the pseudo-haunting melody drums on.

In the end, Juicy J says it right when he speaks on “Centuries”. Stump shouts at: “Remember me for centuries!” and Juicy J corrects him with “Forever!” Sure, Shelley has a point in his poem: empires fall. But Fall Out Boy are not going to stop yet, even with a remix album that feels half-hearted. Fans will love it, haters will not acknowledge its existence, and those in the middle will only check it out of sheer curiosity, probably hating their choice of listening to the “Uma Thurman” remix. With the original record and this one, they have a good time to reflect on their progress post-hiatus. They have been joined by the likes of Jay-Z, Courtney Love, and Elton John, and with some of the features on Make America Psycho Again, it begs the question: who is next? Who will help build on the kingdom of Fall Out Boy?

RATING 5 / 10