Its brevity is its greatest strength, although there’s nothing inherently strong about a work’s length in itself anyways. I’ll start off by saying that “Young and Menace” was the most ugly, confusing, and disdainful song I’ve heard in a while. The big texture shift from whatever small creepy mood it started with to the unsettling, insistent vomit of ear numbing synthetic sound couldn’t have been worse. While nothing else on the album stooped to that level of complete annoyance again, this opening song set the tone for the real technical shortcomings the rest of the music would have. Fall Out Boy fell flat on their face in trying to capture specific modern musical procedures that should have already been proven that they aren’t worth attempting. I could spend time trying to figure out why their thought process led them to attempting to recreate garbage, but I’d like to focus on the music alone. I’ll only say that the pressure that the media puts on established musicians to change and conform in some way certainly didn’t help. So, all these songs are built upon a single tactic, which is the “drop” so to speak, or the point of stark texture shift that goes from soft to loud. It isn’t a “drop” by its current definition in modern music, but it is comparable with regards to what its purpose is. These moments aren’t at all subtle, and they all happen at roughly the same time in each song, attempting to accomplish the same excited emotion through sounding fun and upbeat. There were three things very wrong with this execution. One, nothing that was built to sonically sounded remotely pleasing or fun; it was always just a heaping on of helpless synthetic tones, guitar/vocal volume and unsupported beats that did nothing but augment the dynamic, and thus sound idiotic. Two, these moments were quite ineffective because they weren’t just moments; they became the entire song. The texture shift happened once, the song stayed at the same loud dynamic level throughout, and any meaningful emotion from the shift was completely washed away by the end. Three, this basic timbral technique does not give off any reward unless surprise or extreme sonic manipulation is on the musician’s side. Nothing about these song structures were surprising in any way, and unfortunately timbral experimentation was sacrificed for trying to sound familiar. Sometimes that’s okay, but not in this instance where the imitation is that of a rambunctious party where teenagers go to simply lose brain cells. It did sound familiar, and it was rather abysmal. Also, it was very infuriating the way all the songs concluded by suddenly taking everything away to end with a single voice repeating the line that’s already been repeated too many times. It was like trying to bring me back to day care. There was some slight value in the harmonic loop from time to time. One thing that Fall Out Boy did succeed at to a respectable degree was choosing interesting yet fitting chord patterns, never falling into boring traps or taking the easy way out by using the same dull four chords. The lack of rhythm or any meaningful direction, though, really hindered it. Their entire execution of intent through washed up, cheap linear motion that valued single-dimension dynamic over shape and composition was simply awful. They could rarely write an engaging melody while trying to shove this wayward, zany pizzazz in the listener’s face. The lame melodic motion and terrible repetition don’t lie; this music is not worth listening to. Don’t give this band a pass because you see this as a brave attempt for them to reinvent themselves. Long story short, the buzzword “reinvention” makes little sense in the music review world. Changing musical styles is not a prerequisite to having a successful career, and certainly not a successful album. If you value the fact of the attempt over its result, your priorities are in the wrong place. If you’re a sane person, you’ll not find what you’re looking for on this album.

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