The awesome ‘madness’ of Folie A Deux

Amy Julian

Call me a scenester, call me emo, call me a bandwagoner, whatever. But I love Fall Out Boy. I Don’t Care whether they are being called “sell-outs” by their “diehard” fans. I like their music and even though I may not know all their old, old stuff, I still say I’m a fan. So when I heard that the Chi-town foursome was set to release their follow-up to the unbelievable 2007 smash Infinity on High, I was quite excited. Originally set to drop on November 4 to coincide with Election Day, Folie A Deux (Decaydance Records) hits stores December 16. The album mashes old Fall Out Boy’s spastic and harder sounds with newer-age beats and perplexing and downright random lyrics. And it works.

Folie A Deux, which I’m still not quite sure how to verbally pronounce, is a French phrase meaning ” a madness shared by two.” And it seems like a perfectly fitting title-two different sounds (that of the older, frenzied FOB and the newer, more subdued and polished sound of the band) come together in a symphony of madness. I mean, with titles like “Headfirst Slide Into Cooperstown on a Bad Bet” and “Disloyal Order of Water Buffalos,” the band is clearly confident (and perhaps slightly mad) in its creativity and ability to make such off-the-wall randomness cool.

Going into the album, I had high expectations: Infinity on High was a CD I didn’t mind playing in its entirety and I was holding Folie A Deux up to the same standard. I hoped they wouldn’t make the same mistake *NSYNC made: release all of your good material on a CD with hit after hit after hit, and fail to do so with their follow-up. I mean, lets face it, *NSync’s Celebrity, while catchy, was a huge disappointment after No Strings Attached. But I digress. I popped in the album and upon several listens remembered why I liked the band so much. They are fun, highly-talented, and not afraid to let it all hang out. Folie A Deux, plain and simple, is a good CD. Comparing it to their previous release is like comparing College Dropout-Kanye and 808s Kanye-same artist, two outstanding and musically intense albums, two pretty different sounds. You simply can’t compare one against the other because they sound different, and they are both unbelievable.

Folie A Deux is like a ride along the entire Fall Out Boy spectrum: from one end, we have those songs, like “Headfirst Slide…,” appeal to the fans of the Fall Out Boy of yore, while tracks like “What a Catch, Donnie” lend the element of more-recent Fall Out Boy, with reliance and focus on the richer vocals of lead singer Patrick Stump. Somewhere in the middle lie songs that feature both, or neither, components, melding together to form an even more different sound (“I Don’t Care”). And the ride, with the quirky, newsboy-capped Stump, unpredictable bassist and co-vocalist Pete Wentz (soon to be a daddy!), hardcore lead guitarist Joe Trohman (who has been rumored to officially started the band), and curly-haired, spectacled drummer Andy Hurley. Together, the four bring you on a crazy road trip, with no stops along the way to explain the scenery (or the titles of the songs). They just drive.

The thing with Fall Out Boy, in my opinion, is that as a band, as people, they are so likeable and fun that anything they put out, I’m probably going to listen to. Their videos have featured everything from a boy wearing antlers (From Under the Cork Tree’s “Sugar We’re Going down”), chimpanzees macking on Kim Kardashian (Infinity on High’s “Thnx Fr Th Mmrs”), and now their video for the first single “I Don’t Care” is sure to simultaneously perplex and entertain. They are no doubt creative. They are one of those bands that you have to listen to a song a few times before you decide (and confirm) whether you like it or not. When first exposed to “I Don’t Care,” I had a visceral reaction that was almost reflexive: I hate it. But after listening to it once more (only once more!) I quickly found myself singing it, watching music videos, and claiming it as one of m new favorite FOB songs. The point is, don’t base your opinion on simply the first listen. If you immediately like Folie a Deux, it’s for good reason. If, at first listen, you decide it’s not your cup of tea, listen to it once, twice, more. I guarantee you won’t be able to resist the solid musicianship and the charming off-keyness of Patrick Stump. From any other band, this album would be disjointed, and would seem to lack fluidity. But from Fall Out Boy, that’s what fans have come to love and expect. And with Folie A Deux, luckily that’s what we get.