Okay so this is gonna be VERY rare considering I don't buy much music these days (I'M NOT DOWNLOADING IT!! I DO MY SH*T LEGAL!!) but there just isn't much music that catches my interest. That being said when this little cherry was signaled to drop, I started drooling. Like many other people I fell in love with Patrick Stump through Fall Out Boy (and for the hater, and by haters I'm not talking about people who don't like Fall Out Boy, I'm talking about the elitist assholes who bitch about Fall Out Boy being emo, I like what I like so kindly FUCK OFF!!). Anyways, as much as I love Fall Out Boy, I think I love Patrick's soulful vocals and his ability to pour some REAL passion into the lyrics he sings. When I heard he was striking out on his own with a solo album I was like "HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO WAIT?!"
Then the first single came out "Spotlight (New Regrets)" and "Spotlight (Oh Nostalgia)", I KNEW that the album was gonna be EXPENSIVE HEAT! As much as I enjoyed those tracks, I, like MANY others wanted more and Patrick dropped "Explode" on us...which, much to my everlasting nerdom, I had to make a music video to. Those were 2 tastes of the upcoming "Soul Punk" and I was hungry for a 3rd. The 3rd came in the form of a woman named "Allie" who apparently could've taught Pat some naughty things. "Allie" was INSANELY good.
"You said you were protected, I thought you meant you had a gun!"
For some reason that's my favorite line of that song. With 3 tastes of "Soul Punk" I was now thoroughly convinced that it was gonna be unadulterated ear-candy and I was NOT disappointed. BUT, this is NOT a dick-ridding session and the album is NOT without it's flaws but it's flaws are minor and if you're a fan of Fall Out Boy and a fan of Patrick's soulful singing style THIS ALBUM IS FOR YOU! While I won't review the album song by song, I WILL review the tracks that I like (which is pretty much all of them BUT there are some prime cuts).
"The "I" In Lie" is BY FAR my favorite track. I have to say I was honestly NOT ready for this one. The thing that makes this song so good because of how it smooth it starts off and with the subject matter of cheating it's VERY personal and yet not so much that it becomes hamfisted. It's almost as if Patrick is saying "I messed up but I don't have to stay that way." it's almost confessional and that's what I love about it. BUT the music behind and the choice of lyrics are absolutely genius! And even though Patrick only demands the hands of the unfaithful to be raised in the air, I found myself with my hands above my head for some reason. My favorite line from this song echos back to my favorite line in "It's Hard To Say "I Do" When "I Don't"", which goes like this:
"Put your hands in the air and don't make a sound but don't get the wrong idea, we're gonna shoot you, we're gonna shoot you! And there's nothing in your hand, pocket, throat or wallet that can change just how this goes."
-"It's Hard To Say "I Do" When "I Don't""
My favorite line from "The "I" In Lie" is:
"Put your hands in the air like you're under arrest with a guilty conscious."
What is it with Patrick and putting hands in air ? For that matter, he was shooting us before but apparently we're getting arrested. Interesting.
The next track I must address is "Run Dry (X Heart, X Fingers)". This song is so damn funky, I don't drink myself but I appreciate the verbal recap of alcoholism. I don't know if Patrick is an alcoholic or if he even drinks for that matter but the song has some very nice passion and humor in it. It's like he's saying "I get drunk, I know but I can laugh at it and I admit it.". As they say admitting it is the first step and this is one hell of a first step. If I had to say ONE bad thing about the song is that it goes on for too long in it's 2nd half. Sometimes that can be a good thing and other times I really don't mind (in those cases it reminds me of Michael Jackson's "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'") in other cases it feels like it should be a song in it's own right. But he keeps it interesting with his style of vocals and choices of music, keeping things funky and I really can't hate him for that.
"Coast (It's Gonna Get Better)" was a sleeper for me. I have a HUGE problem with being negative (ask my girlfriend, she'll tell you). So something like this sings directly to me with a positive message of things getting better. Patrick even sings the most honest lyrics I've ever heard "I keep makin' mistakes but it takes sometime to get anything right!" I KNOW Patrick wasn't the first person to say that BUT it sounds good coming from him. In all seriousness this song is great with background harmony and just very soulful ("Soul" Punk...duh).
"Greed" is another one of those Michael Jacksonsque tracks, I can honestly see him singing something akin to this. But the tracks sounds like some kind church sermon that some how turned into a jam session. Picture this if you will, Patrick Stump dressed in a preacher's robe with a choir behind him as he waves a Bible and sings about Greed to a clapping congregation. He really gets his funk on in this track with rapid fire singing in the chorus and the crescendo of the music to emphasis his vocals just meshes perfectly. Not to mention the organ and his announcements in the song's break it just keeps raising that churchy vibe. BUT this song is NOT preachy to any stretch of the imagination, it's a VERY incredible and fun listen. My only complaint is that it doesn't go on long enough for me. Especially with the way it goes into the instrumental at the end. It kinda left me going "Wait, that's it ?"
Finally we come to "Dance Miserable" which sounds like it's a song that escaped right from "Sonic's" "Spring Yard Zone" soundtrack. Being a fan of "Sonic" I LOVE anything that sounds "Sonic-y" and this does the job VERY well. Not to mention that the song does indeed make me wanna dance (then again this entire album makes me wanna dance). I LOVE the music but I love Patrick's singing in this, it's very FUNKY and he's trying to get people dance in the face of misery and it's FUN. All In all, not the best track BUT worth a listen.
Overall I will say that "Soul Punk" BLEW away my expectations and dare I say it I'm almost worried about a sophomore effort if Patrick is swinging THIS hard out the gate. But he's a humble lad with a good head on his shoulders and a HELL of a LOT of talent. Is he more grounded with Fall Out Boy or without? His next solo effort will tell BUT for now just sit back and enjoy the groove while it lasts. 2 thumbs WAY UP!!