Fall Out Boy: ‘American Beauty/American Psycho’ Music Video Review

Courtesy of Fall Out Boy via VEVO
Courtesy of Fall Out Boy via VEVO

Since Fall Out Boy came out of hiatus early last year, the band has had a successful album, extended play (EP), two back-to-back tours, and has produced a brand new song for Disney’s Big Hero 6 in the process. With the year closing out, Fall Out Boy has announced another new album and video. “American Beauty/American Psycho” is the second song from the album of the same name, due out early next year.  The latest video seems to make a nod to classic cult films, using film references like “Centuries” did.

While “Centuries” took audiences to Rome in a very Gladiator fashion, “American Beauty/American Psycho” looks like a nod to director Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan) and David Fincher (Fight Club). Even the name itself can be considered a nod to both classic films of the same names. The video opens with a music box and a dancer out of focus from the viewer, the next shot jumps to a young boy holding a hammer in a doorway. The music box itself is playing the tune of the song as we see the boy start walking, then the viewer hears the introduction to the song.

Patrick Stump sings “She’s an American beauty / I’m an American psycho / She’s an American beauty / I’m an American / I’m an American,” which, for many fans will sound a lot like their EP Pax-Am Days. Many of the guitar riffs and even Stump’s style of singing has that punk edge they had in the EP. As the music continues to play, the video jumps to a dog barking and then back to the young boy. It continues with the young boy trying to smash the music box and then the camera shows the ballerina who had placed the box moments before. The camera focuses on the boy and the music box, before jumping to close ups of the ballerina’s feet, hands and back. The camera then pans out into a wide shot with the music box in the shot and her standing like the mini figure in the box, as the boy stops and runs off. The film is cut in with images of the American flag and just graininess one would expect from 35mm film reels.

The next shot that is seen combines what looks like a fight club style scene with men surrounding the dancer who is dressed similar to a black swan. The video then cuts back to the young boy who is now in a different part of the room watching the scene unfold. The video uses very little light relying heavily on a large spot for the dance and fight scene, and where the young boy is hidden. As the scene between the dancer and the fighters continues to unfold we see the boy being affected, as she hits one guy the young boy is taking blows in the same places. The video itself is very to the point, there isn’t any sort of story line, but the viewer can piece together that the ballerina has setup this trap with the music box. Because the video ends in a similar fashion as it started, we see her close the box and as the camera focuses out on her we see another young boy with a baseball bat in hand about to enter the room.

While the viewer sees very little of the band in this video, unlike the previous video for “Centuries,” it is a nod to cult films in it’s mix of dancers and fighters. Even the lighting in the video is very much like the two films; it’s gritty and dark. The video is well-shot and edited, and many film fans will catch the small nods to the films. “American Beauty/American Psycho” is currently available for preorder on iTunes and the album is due to be released worldwide on January 20th, 2015.