Considering the context of this album—the resurrection of a pop-punk-turned-pop-star band three years into a hiatus—it's not half bad. Fall Out Boy has always done well to capitalize on the sounds of the time. When the Chicago boys broke through in the early aughts with From Under the Cork Tree, they sounded like the edgier brothers of the All-American Rejects. With Save Rock and Roll, they sound like an opener for Fun. Pete Wentz and co. have grown in the way a teenager listens to songs in her bedroom until she gets to hear some remixes in a club. That might explain the excessive boom-chick drums.
On the first few tracks, Patrick Stump sounds like he finally grew into his voice, still reminiscent of Adam Levine. He pushes a little too hard and the writing is still adolescent, but at least the last human element of this band is alive and well. It sounds like most of the pop-rock instrumentals came out of computers. Even where the guitars are supposed to lead, someone in the studio must have said, "Put a synthesizer there!" The band has finally grown enough to quit faking it and cut out the punk entirely—if it was ever there to begin with.