Fall Out Boy has been on the scene for what seems like ever, and Patrick Stump has been the driving force behind that for as long as the band has been around. But he’s not the sole driving force behind it, which is what makes hearing him on his own so unique and fascinating. It’s what makes hearing any band artist’s career on their own unique and fascinating.
When I picked up Soul Punk from my local library, I was really excited. Previously I had only heard the remix of “This City” featuring Lupe Fiasco, which I absolutely loved. So I had some sense of what this album would be like, but I was still totally unprepared for what I heard.
What I heard was something so totally different from Fall Out Boy, that if it wasn’t for the unique and immediately recognizable vocals, I wouldn’t have thought that it was Patrick Stump. Different doesn’t equal bad, though – and the new sound, while shocking, was something that I fell in immediate love with.
The first song on the album is “Explode” and is absolutely breathtaking. It captures your attention with a high energy beat and a great message spread through well-written lyrics. As always with me, the voice and lyrics is what captured me. In Fall Out Boy, Patrick’s vocals are fantastic and amazing, of course. But Soul Punk gives him the chance to go into new territory with his vocals, giving him more range and freedom to explore what they can really do. Which isn’t something that we heard much of in post-hiatus Fall Out Boy at all, and is something that was only brushed over with their new album. When I listened to this, I heard vocals that I wouldn’t have expected at all from Patrick Stump. I heard vocals that I would have expected to hear from Prince and Michael Jackson, and even Allen Stone – and it was fantastic!
What amazed me aside from the vocals and lyrics of course was the sound. It was so different from Fall Out Boy, but in a good way. The first thing that I thought, as cheesy as it was, is that soul punk is the perfect genre to describe this album, as it takes elements from each genre. All of it has soul, so much soul that you can barely hear a note without hearing how much of him that Patrick put into it.
The album keeps your attention through all eleven (twelve if you can find the hidden one) tracks, and brushes over a bunch of different topics such as relationships (cheating especially), problems in our society, and even a quick glance at alcohol addiction. Whether these views and subjects are drawn from real life experiences or are merely stories that Patrick’s dreamed up for this particular album, I don’t know. What I do know is that the feel of the album is reflective but at the same time slightly uplifting and encouraging, very much in the same way that Fall Out Boy is with some of their songs. These are the songs that, if people listened enough, they’d find inspiration in them. Especially “Spotlight (New Regrets).” Even throughout the slower, sadder songs, it was easy to find something relatable, and something that touches your soul.
So needless to say, I did the first thing that I always do when I find an artist that I like: I looked up to see when the next album is going to be. Well, of course, since FOB is back together I imagine that’s top priority. What was more concerning to me though is the FOB-fan reception to Patrick’s solo album. He actually received a lot of backlash, so much so that I actually felt outraged that fans would do this, and go out of their way to make Patrick feel horrible about the album. It’s one thing not to like an album. It’s another thing totally to go out of your way to make sure that the artist knows how much you hate it. And from previous fans of his? That’s messed up, to me.
I also found, in my research, a quote from Patrick Stump:
“I’m just as pissed off as I was while screaming in punk bands, but I feel like I’m directing it into something positive and centered around love.”
It’s actually a very beautiful quote, and shows how far Patrick Stump has come not only as an artist but as a person. So I guess in the end, I would love to hear more of Patrick’s solo work. Though I’ll be happy if I don’t, because this solo album wasn’t to impress anyone or make a mark or start a side career from Fall Out Boy. This album was for himself and himself alone, and I can so appreciate that.
10/10 would recommend.