1001 Albums You Must Die Before You Hear: Patrick Stump’s Soul Punk


1001 Albums You Must Die Before You Hear

#92: Patrick Stump – Soul Punk (2010)

Fallout Boys’ stuff was okay but MATT KELLY is utterly stumped at how totally and irredeemably naff that group’s Pat Stump’s solo is.

I’m aware I may come across as a terrible person, a misanthropic troll seeking out albums I know I won’t like so I can listen to them in bad faith and vent my insignificant spleen. Which is fine because most of the time this is perfectly true.

However, there’s nothing quite like the thrill of stumbling across a horrendous album organically. It’s happened before – Steve Winwood’s Junction Seven comes to mind as a prime example of an *awful* record from an artist I never would’ve thought capable of one – and it’s happening now.

I have enjoyed all of Fallout Boy’s first four records and I’ve singled out frontman Patrick Stump for praise as composer, rhythm guitarist and singer. So I am therefore gobsmacked by how much I hate this. The album’s abysmal quality does explain a few things though, such as why they never let him do this again and why it’s so neglected, rarely mentioned even among FOB fans.


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First of all, the title is an outrageous lie. The album is about as punk as bedtime, and soul? Bwahahaha! There’s one four-letter S-word that will come to mind as you listen to this oppressively plastic, canned production and it isn’t “soul”. All instrumentation is performed by Stump, which shows admirable ambition but his lack of experience is evident in how bad some of this sounds. The goofy echoing trumpet riff paired with a silly deep vocal on ‘Everybody Wants Somebody’ is hard to keep a straight face for (I challenge you to get through the instrumental break without giggling at the incompetence of both the guitar and synth solos as well as the awful mix where multiple layers of synths just do whatever the fuck they want) and when the chorus consists of


“Don’t get hurt, don’t you get hurt

Don’t get hurt, don’t you get

Don’t get hurt, don’t you get hurt

Don’t get hurt, don’t you get”


it becomes apparent why FOB get Pete Wentz to write the lyrics.

Soul Punk sees Stump try to set himself up as a Justin Timbalike heir to Michael Jackson with a bunch of insipid R&B party anthems, so we get a lot of Stump’s sexy loverman falsetto here and it’s terrible. I physically wince every time he starts squeaking away like a mouse trying to impersonate Prince without waking up Mom on the dreadful ‘The I In Lie’ which also features one of the worst guitar solos I’ve ever heard on a professionally produced album.

But for real show-stopping shittiness, the EIGHT AND A HALF MINUTE ‘Run Dry’ takes the cake. What a disaster. An incredibly naff synthesizer farts away over the opening of the song before Stump gets slap bass FUN-KAY while doing his best Sam’s Club MJ and we’re just getting started. At 3:36 there’s an incompetent time signature change and we’re off to sexy club music land as Stump does his sexy whispers over sexy bass synths and fuck knows what the rhythm guitar thinks it’s doing come 5:19. Meanwhile, the big chorus at 5:49 is a blown out “how not to mix dense production” failure. And THEN the song ends with a full minute of digitized gurgling sounds which one has to imagine is a metaphor for something involving Stump’s solo career and a drain. It’s such a mess.

Beyond this one gargantuanly shit song though, SP still does not fare well. Why put those annoying faux-record scratch sounds and shitty handclaps all over ‘Explode’? Could the song ‘This City’ be more generic chart-bait if it tried? Who thought the bizarre anti-capitalist spoken word section in ‘Dance Miserable’ was a good idea? Awful stuff.

Inexplicably, shockingly bad. But still better than Mania so it has that going for it.

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Matthew Kelly is the most important person in the music industry – the type of obsessive nerd without whom it would have no reason to produce box sets and nine-hour long documentaries.

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