Patrick Stump’s “Soul Punk” Packs a Punch

A precursor to this blog post: I’ve literally had this record on loop, first via my beloved Spotify account, then via my iTunes library, because: A) I like to own my music, and B) I figured my Facebook feed with Patrick Stump inundation would be just too much for people to handle – aka, click ‘unsubscribe from Greg Bodenlos‘ here.  Anyway, enough of the digression…on to sonic business.

Now all of this preamble has absolutely nothing to do with the album at hand, with the notable exception that almost all that was familiar about the Fall Out Boy sound and story can be thrown out the window when listening to Stump’s ambitiously titled “Soul Punk” debut.  Sonically, “Soul Punk” is a complete departure from Fall Out Boy’s breakthrough hits “Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down“, “Dance, Dance” and follow-up hits “This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race” and “Thnks Fr Th Mmrs.”  Gone are the guitar riffs and alt-rock leanings, stripped away from the sound and replaced by big, brash synthesizers, beat-boxing breakdowns, and funky electro-beats.

Patrick Stump - Soul Punk Album

The record kicks off emphatically with the aptly titled “Explode,” with Stump – who wrote, composed, and produced every single song on this record – creating a frantically fun and exciting wall of sound that only builds momentum from there.  Lead single “This City,” which has been a slow but steady grower on Top-40 mainstream radio, continues the glistening sound that Stump has swarmed his stronger than ever vocals around, as do must-be-follow-up-singles “Dance Miserable” and “Spotlight (No Regrets), which are so infectiously hook-laden they’ll delight upon initial listen.  If there’s one thing that Patrick Stump hasn’t abandoned from his Fall Out Boy days is his affinity for pop hooks and off-the-wall, sometimes paradoxical lyrics.  Some of the best soundbites come at the middle of the record, where Stump energetically encourages those to “dance like you’re disappointed in the world” and hilariously orders all those “Bernie Madoffs to pop their white collars up” as if to start a new dance craze.

After the frantic energy of “Greed” subsides – which is undeniably a kissing cousin of Lady Gaga’sequally frenzied “Teeth” – Stump coasts along a concluding string of songs exuding positivity (see “Everybody Wants Somebody”) and high hopes (“Coast (It’s Gonna Get Better”)).  Even the closest Fall Out Boy-sounding song, the rather-downbeat “Allie,” still sounds fresh in its surroundings.  If you purchase (or pirate) the Deluxe Version of the record (which I highly recommend you do) you are treated with more light-hearted, delicious delights about growing older (“Bad Side of 25”) and general life commentary (“People Never Done a Good Thing Right”).  In all, “Soul Punk” packs an hour of funky, soulful ear-candy that is both infectious in sound and substantial in content. Give it a listen and be ready for a raucous ride.

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