The song title covers a lot of pop culture. Both a 1970 Grateful Dead album and an Oscar-winning Kevin Spacey movie have utilized the title of American Beauty, whilst American Psycho is the name of a darkly comic novel about a Wall Street serial killer, which was turned into a film. "Both (American Beauty and American Psycho) depict this obsession with an idea of perfection and imply we might be bad underneath," guitarist Joe Trohman told Billboard magazine.
"I also like the repetition of the word 'American,'" vocalist Patrick Stump added. "What does it mean to be American? I think a lot about how awesome it is here, and how horrible it is, too."
Fall Out Boy hooked up with French musician and producer DJ SebastiAn for this track. "We thought about where this all began but razing it and starting again," the band said of the song's creation. "So we reached out to a kindred spirit in SebastiAn- from the past he mined some of the future. the mission is the heart pure and simple as it can be distilled but never fragmented or disguised. through these experiments, that were sometimes lost in translation, we persevered - 'they tried to bury us but they didn't realize we were seeds.'"
This samples Motley Crüe's song "Too Fast for Love," which was the title track of their 1981 debut album.
Patrick Stump tweeted that is his favorite track from American Beauty/American Psycho, saying, "It's the right level of artistically interesting, but also just fun."
Bassist Pete Wentz told HMV.com
that the album almost had a couple of different titles. "It was a bit of a struggle, this record is a lot more about modern romance than the last one, but the singles are called 'Centuries
' and 'Immortals
,'" he explained. "I think we started talking about thresholds, the idea that everyone has a dark side and a light side within them and what makes that change in our culture. The movies are good references and good book-ends, we try and point fans to things we like. Also it rolls off the tongue quite nicely."
So who's the face-painted kid on the album cover? It's 13-year-old actor Jake Karlen and the shoot was done in a Los Angeles rented home. Jake told MTV News that it was the band who came up with the face paint concept. "They explained it to me and said they'd put it on my hand first and then my face afterwards," he recalled. "They wanted to see something very dark and angry, very angry. I think I pulled it off. I think I did pretty good."
American Beauty/American Psycho sold 218,000 copies in the US in its first seven days, landing Fall Out Boy at #1 on the Billboard 200. It was the band's best sales week since 2007.
Wentz told Rolling Stone that when the band were making the album, a tweet from the magazine's writer Brian Hiatt stayed in their heads. "He said that modern rock music isn't modern," said Wentz. "That was a big inspiration for when we were talking with this French DJ sebastiAn about creating something that was like a throwback, but from the future. It's like modern rock of the future. I'm not sure that's even what it is, but it is something strange."