I have to start this article with a disclaimer…I have a Fall Out Boy album on my iPod (Infinity On High, 2007). While I am not particularly proud of this, it does actually help my argument.
On Monday, Feb. 4, Fall Out Boy announced that they were ending a 3-year-long “hiatus,” and will be releasing a new album as well as starting a tour. Upon hearing this, I immediately thought to myself, “Fall Out Boy broke up?” Granted, I haven’t heard anything from Fall Out Boy in recent years, nor do I care, nor do I go actively looking for the latest news on Fall Out Boy.
Fall Out Boy started out in the early 2000s as newcomers to an up-and-coming pop punk obsession that was sweeping the nation and had many people saying that they were “into rock and roll” because they liked Fall Out Boy. I’ll admit, I found their early songs kind of catchy, so I listened to them as well as New Found Glory and All Time Low, and all of those other emo-infused pop punk bands. I think what got me into them was the fact that most of them listed Green Day as a major influence, and I loved Green Day.
However, I was never quite sold on this new thing called “pop punk.” Sure, I loved Green Day, and I loved Blink-182, both seen as some of the pioneers of pop punk, but there was something far too catchy about this new genre. I grew up listening to more rough-and-tumble punk bands like Minor Threat, Rancid, Dropkick Murphys, Social Distortion, Scream, Black Flag and Bad Brains, to name a few, so I liked to think I had some kind of ear for grittier punk rock that people weren’t so eager to play on the radio or the “new MTV.”
As much as they wanted to be punk, Fall Out Boy had no shot at being a part of the hardcore sound they claimed to love. They were playing to audiences of pre-teen and teenage girls, and guys who really didn’t have the best taste in music. I will go so far as to say that Fall Out Boy is the Justin Bieber of pop punk (not a compliment). With overproduced records that garnered pop radio play far too easily, and INSANELY long song titles, Fall Out Boy’s novelty and supposed “originality” quickly wore out its welcome.
Back to Fall Out Boy’s recent announcement: new record and tour. I have to give credit where credit is due: their new album is called Save Rock and Roll, which could mean a few different things. It could mean that FOB is going to attempt to make a REAL rock record, without the aid of Autotune, computer effects or insane amounts of production, and simply get down to making music.
It could also mean that they are going back to doing what they do best: make catchy sing-a-long songs that sell lots of albums, get tons of radio/MTV airtime and try to appeal to everyone. I personally don’t know. Their first single from the album, released a few days ago, is titled “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light ‘Em Up).”
Already, I’m not happy. That song title is way too long. But, before I judge, I will listen, and I’ll give it a chance. Music is about inclusion, and if you aren’t, at the very least, open to different kinds of music and different ways of doing things, then you deprive yourself of the wide range of influences that formed most great musicians.
Despite my best efforts at hating on Fall Out Boy…I’ll give them one last chance. You should too.