Fall Out Boy releases new single

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First Posted: 12/8/2014

Fall Out Boy was wrapping up its tour with Paramore when to the surprise of its fans, the band decided to release a new single. Supporters of the Chicago-based rock group have grown accustomed to expect the unexpected, but bassist Pete Wentz explains the objective of dropping the new song was not to simply shock people.

“I think more than anything, when it was written and recorded there felt some urgency (to release it),” Wentz said on “Ralphie Tonight.” “It forced us to move along in the process.”

That process ended up including more than just a new song. Fall Out Boy will release “American Beauty/American Psycho” on January 20. “Centuries” serves as the first single. In one sense, the track is exactly what people have come to expect from the quartet: a lead singer showing off his impressive range, a large-sounding chorus and catchy one-liners. But then there’s the unexpected: a sample of Suzanne Vega’s 1981 hit “Tom’s Diner” woven through the song. That came through a collaboration with producer Jonathan “J.R.” Rotem.

“(J.R.) was like, ‘I got this idea for a track, but I don’t know that it makes sense for a rock band,’” recalled Wentz. “I was like, ‘Dude, those are the ideas I want to hear. I don’t down-the-middle ideas. They never work for Fall Out Boy.’”

Within the same day, front man Patrick Stump and Wentz wrote the song and took it to guitarist Joe Trohman and drummer Andy Hurley before “making it a Fall Out Boy thing.”

Rotem is no stranger to radio hits or samples. The producer is behind the launch of a number of careers and big singles – from Jason Derulo’s “Whatcha Say” to Sean Kingston’s “Beautiful Girls” to Iyaz’s “Replay.” In all of those, Rotem’s signature “J-J-J-J-R” can be heard at some point in the song. It’s not in “Centuries” and Wentz said that it never came up in talks about the song.

“There was never that moment,” he noted. “I think he knows that Fall Out Boy is a thing; our band and brand and culture are our thing. We’ve never been the type to like, co-brand.”

However, if Wentz were to pick his own audio signature, he would take a cue from a fellow Windy City native.

“The one that I love the most is the era of Kanye, I think it was on ‘Watch The Throne,’ when he did ‘The Urkel,’ like, ‘Hah!’ Wentz said, even imitating the sound. “Something like that. Something that’s like, vaguely annoying.”

American Beauty/American Psycho is the band’s sixth studio album. The title track was released online Monday.