Last week, I woke up to a pleasant surprise. The band that soundtracked my formative years had gone off hiatus, released a new single and have plans for a new tour and album. Fall Out Boy is back and the world is better for it.
I first discovered the pop-punk quartet on MTV2 when I saw the video for “Grand Theft Autumn/Where Is Your Boy”. I fired up the old desktop computer and did some googling. I found out they would be releasing an upcoming album entitled From Under The Cork Tree and already had one out entitled Take This To Your Grave.
Excitement filled me as I had this little cool band in my back pocket that wasn’t known by everybody. This was very important to me as an incoming 7th grader. The album dropped without loads of big-box stores carrying it. Then a couple of months after its release “Sugar, We’re Going Down” was dropped as a single. My cool pop-punk band become nationally known coast to coast. They even took the stage at Warped Tour with the number one song in the country.
I got my hands on From Under The Cork Tree and obsessively listened. I knew the songs before they were selected for singles and music videos. Pete Wentz quickly became my idol. I started listening to everything their label Fueled by Ramen put out and became a huge fan of Wentz’s Fueled by Ramen imprint decadence. I also bought items of Wentz’s clothing line (Clandestine) and have one shirt that I still wear proudly six years later(Yes, it still fits perfectly).
As I was growing into the pop-punk scene of music I was growing up. I was starting to go out on weekends and really do things socially. I was making some decisions for myself for the first time and carrying about clothes, school sports and my popularity. I felt Fall Out Boy had a song for every teenage emotion I had.
I discussed the band with other avid fans and came to defend them when the eventual backlash set in. I staunchly argued that they were not emo and would quote the line “Make us poster boys for your scene/But we are not making an acceptance speech” from the song “Thriller” as proof. The band’s evolution in sound would eventually completely back me up.
Their sound changed little by little as they released albums. The most drastic change was between the sound on Infinity On High to Folie a Deux. I vividly remember listening to Infinity On High in preparation to see them live in the summer after 8th grade. They still had that pop punk core but the sound seemed turned up a bit to fill the arenas Fall Out Boy had now started to fill. The full transformation to an experimental pop rock band was complete when Folie a Deux was released in 2008.
The sound incorporated more piano, layered vocals and had a bigger sound. The album felt more like grand production and less of something that could be played in music club. The band’s sound may have changed but the one constant is the metaphor stacking in the lyrics by Pete Wentz.
I fancy myself a decent writer and strongly appreciate what Wentz does with a pen and paper. One of my personal favorite and simple lines by Wentz is “I’m just a notch in your bed post/But you’re just a line in a song.” That is off the breakthrough hit “Sugar We’re Going Down” I previously mentioned. Also his obnoxiously long song titles were a bit charming and Patrick Stump’s vocals are just the perfect complement.
Fall Out Boy’s comeback song “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up)” is rich with attitude. It has a big feel to it and should be played to wide audience. An audience which you can guarantee you’ll see me at, 20 years old, singing along to every word like I’m in the 7th grade again.