Album review: Patrick Stump's 'Soul Punk'
Patrick Stump makes worried reference more than once to the danger of cliché on “Soul Punk,” his solo debut after a long (and perhaps to-be-resumed) run with the popular emo rock band Fall Out Boy. Yet nothing about this deeply idiosyncratic album suggests that Stump has cause for fear: With its sleek club-pop synths, flowery R&B singing and ultra-earnest lyrics about economic hardship and hometown pride, “Soul Punk” fulfills no known stereotype; it never allows you to tune out, confident in your assumption of where the music is headed.
Stump — who wrote, performed and produced everything here — depends on some familiar lodestars, including recent records by Justin Timberlake and Maroon 5, not to mention the Michael Jackson and Prince records on which those acts depend. (Fall Out Boy fans might’ve imagined this eventual makeover after the band recruited Babyface to work on 2007’s “Infinity on High.”) But every time Stump starts bending toward convention, he’ll snap back with a sharp detail, as in “Run Dry (X Heart X Fingers),” which offsets a very “Dirty Mind” bass line with the frank admission of a drinking problem. The effect opens you fully to what Stump’s doing on “Soul Punk,” and he rewards your attention more often than not.
“Soul Punk” (Island)
Three stars (out of four)
— Mikael Wood