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Album review: Fall Out Boy's 'Folie a Deux'

December 15, 2008 |  5:52 pm

Fob Fall Out Boy isn't one to thwart its fans or the fame machine. The band's fifth album, "Folie a Deux," is a pleasure bot of right-now pop, adroitly programmed with crunchy '80s melodies, emo's dark prowess and symphonies à la "Sgt. Pepper's." A little something for everyone, all of it played to the max.

"Folie a Deux" imagines itself in the stadium. "(Coffee's for Closers)" marches in, tattered but resplendent, and closes with a playful bounty of horns and a suite of strings. "Disloyal Order of Water Buffaloes" soars and struts with a newfound love for vocal harmonies and club bathroom graffiti such as "detox just to retox."

But for all the steps forward, "Folie a Deux" also seems to contain a microchip for its own destruction. Friends drop in, Debbie Harry, Elvis Costello, Lil Wayne, but they barely surface above the album's aesthetic gluttony. Pete Wentz's lyrics flit from celebrity snark -- "throw your cameras in the air and wave them like you just don't care" -- to inane lines possibly cribbed from a soap opera script: "Does your husband know how the sunshine gleams from your wedding band?" Some songs, like "Tiffany Blews," are meant to be vampy but suffocate instead. There are moments when the oxygen floods in -- like the Pharrell-assisted "w.a.m.s." which unexpectedly ends in stripped-down a cappella blues -- but they are all too rare.

It's not that FOB can't have grandiosity, but every stadium needs open air.

-- Margaret Wappler

Fall Out Boy
"Folie a Deux"
(Island Records)
Two and a half stars