There are few voices in modern music that are as powerful and distinct as Patrick Stump‘s. From the aggressive pop-punk feel of Take This To Your Grave to the more fanciful and matured sound of Folie A Deux, his work in Fall Out Boy stands out as some of the strongest to come out of the past decade. His first solo release, February’s Truant Wave EP, provided quite the departure from what fans had grown to expect as he more fully embraced his R&B and soul tastes in a way that the construct of his band could not have allowed for. The result was something that, though nostalgic in theory, was strangely refreshing and left me itching for more. When a five-song sampler of his upcoming Soul Punk arrived in my inbox, I rushed to listen to it as quickly as possible. After a dozen or so listens, these are my impressions of those tracks.
“Spotlight (New Regrets)”
If you haven’t heard this track yet, what’s wrong with you? It’s been out for quite some time, and I like to think of it as the more “modern” version of the “(Oh Nostalgia)” release found on Truant Wave. Though it wasn’t my favorite of the two when they were first put up for fan voting (and I am now unable to choose between them), it is still full of incredible melodies and a great message. Though all of the lyrics are Stump’s, there still seems to be a bit of the wit that was found in the words Pete Wentz put in his mouth. Overall, a very strong track, and a great choice for the first release.
“This City (Ft. Lupe Fiasco)”
As I mentioned in my recent 3 Of The Week article, this is one of my favorite songs so far this year. The only thing I was surprised about when I got the sampler was that Lupe Fiasco was still featured on the track, since I was under the impression that everything on Soul Punk would be written and recorded by Stump, and was looking forward to hearing how it sounded in its original form. Regardless, I still love the combination of the two musicians and the way that Lupe manages to build hype alongside the hook. With a great beat and stellar vocals, I’m hoping there’s more like this on the rest of the album.
Another track that was previously released, this song was definitely a grower for me, as the somewhat strange-sounding rhythmic portion at the beginning took me a bit off guard on first listen. The song has some of my favorite lines from Stump’s solo work, including the brilliant “if I’m never your hero, I can never let you down.” With a decent story within the lyrics and parts that are begging for fan participation, I’m really hoping he finds his way to Pittsburgh so I can hear this one live.
A little different from the rest of the sampler in tone and tempo, this track seems like it will provide a nice element of variety to Soul Punk. Although all of the songs on the sampler have some great vocal parts, “Allie” is the one where Stump shows off his abilities the most. From the “can I whisper, a capella?” to the vocalizations in the last minute of the song, he makes it abundantly clear that he has a great deal of singing talent, and the music that accompanies it is on a similar level, though the chorus on this one gets a bit repetitive toward the end. That said, the guitar solo rips, and it’s still a pretty good song.
“Everybody Wants Somebody”
Yet another departure from what the other songs on the sampler had led me to expect, the opening of this track seems to be drawing from some eighties influences that Patrick has alluded to, particularly in the vocal delivery in the verses. The chorus, on the other hand, would have fit perfectly alongside many of the songs from Truant Wave, which, to me, is a great thing and hopefully an indication of what might be found on Soul Punk when it’s released in October. The musical break is interesting, to say the least, and the track on the whole has a very natural feeling about it. I can’t wait to see how it fits into the scope of the album.
Overall, this sampler is a great teaser for what should be one of my favorite releases in an incredible year for music. Though I’d already heard three of the five songs included, the two unreleased tracks provided a great deal of variety to what I expected to hear from Soul Punk, and definitely raised my interest level even higher. Long story short, October 18th can’t come soon enough.