Fall Out Boy • Make America Pscyho Again • Island • Release Date: October 30, 2015
The remix used to be one of the hottest commodities ever. Remember when Diddy once said, “we invented the remix?” Then there’s R. Kelly, definitely a big time proponent of the remix – can you say “Ignition Remix?” These days, remixes still happen, but there isn’t the same allure that there once was. That fact is what makes a complete remix album, particularly from a pop/rock band like Fall Out Boy surprising.
After listening to Make America Psycho Again – the remixed version of 2015 studio album American Beauty/American Psycho – the remix medium works surprisingly well for the pop-punk collective. Should it really be that surprising though? No – Patrick Stump has a soulful voice that worked extremely well in the urban medium when he dropped his pop solo album Soul Punk. Still, would anyone expect A$AP Ferg, Juicy J, or Azelea Banks to be featured on a Fall Out Boy track?
One of the most thrilling moments of Make America Psycho Again is “The Kids Aren’t Alright.” In its original form, “Kids” is a gem among American Beauty/American Psycho, so it’s not far-fetched a remixed is just as sweet. While Azealea Banks does fine from a collaborative perspective, it’s the production contrasts from the original itself that truly makes this a savvy remix. The urban setting, as referenced earlier, is perfectly suited for the band and specifically Stump’s voice.
There are other worthwhile moments, beginning with opener “Irresistible” featuring Migos. Much like “The Kids Aren’t Alright,” the production is the driving force itself, arguably more so than the hip-hop collaboration. The minor key setting of “American Beauty/American Psycho” is a good look, definitely suited to A$AP Ferg’s flow. This is one of the more successful rap contributions beyond the strength of the production. But then again, Juicy J is true to himself on the “Centuries” remix, which feels naturally without requiring a dramatic, transformative experience.
Generally, Make America Psycho Again falls in line with what was hot on American Beauty/American Psycho – shocking right? Yes, that means “Uma Thurman” and “Immortals” are relatively successful, even if they aren’t magical per se. There are also some interesting, more pronounced transformations like “Jet Pack Blues” featuring Big K.R.I.T. that arguably are more captivating in remixed form than the context of the original album.
Ultimately, some Fall Out Boy fans will dig this, while those who enjoy the band’s purer sound may wrinkle up their nose. Similarly, some hip-hop fans will respect Fall Out Boy reaching out to hip-hop artists, while others may detest it and write it off. Somewhere in the middle is where Make America Psycho Again lies. Above average – yes actually.
Favorites: “American Beauty/American Psycho,” “Centuries,” “The Kids Aren’t Alright” and “Jet Pack Blues”