The Kerrang! Chart
The Kerrang! Chart: The best new music this week
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So fantastically prolific have Fall Out Boy been across their 16-year, seven-album career (with a four-year hiatus in-between – but we don’t want to dwell on that… sigh), the genre-defying Chicago quartet already have not one but two greatest hits albums. And they could so easily have twice that amount. The band – vocalist/guitarist Patrick Stump, bassist/lyricist Pete Wentz, guitarist Joe Trohman and drummer Andy Hurley – have enjoyed enormous success thanks to their signature blend of emo-tinged pop-punk, scooping plenty of awards (including five from yours truly) not to mention selling a ton of albums (some estimates are apparently around 30 million).
We don’t want to focus on all that today, though. No, for all the gargantuan hits – Centuries, Sugar, We’re Goin Down, Thnks Fr The Mmrs, Dance, Dance… we could go on – there are just as many bangers that have fallen under the radar somewhat. And that’s what we’re digging into here…
You’ve really got to feel bad for any song that follows Sugar, We’re Goin Down on an album tracklist. Nobody Puts Baby In The Corner – the title of which is taken from 1987 flick Dirty Dancing – is prime Fall Out Boy that needs to be heard by everyone. From Patrick’s gloriously quick sing-along of ‘Hand-behind-this-pen-relives-a-failure-everyday’ to Pete’s iconic emo lyrics, ‘So wear me like a locket around your throat / I’ll weigh you down, I’ll watch you choke / You look so good in blue’ it’s clever, catchy and every bit as deserving of your attention as Sugar.
Almost like a musical follow-up to 2013’s mega The Phoenix, Novocaine is the perfect example of Fall Out Boy at their poppy-yet-punchy best. Pete said that the track was written around the time of the murder of 17-year-old African-American Trayvon Martin, the lyricist telling Billboard that, “There’s a hard dialogue to be had when unarmed teenagers are being killed in a country we consider to be a bastion of freedom.” And, as well as a typically formidable vocal performance from Patrick, lyrics like, ‘This is a black, black ski mask song / So put all of your anger on’ make Novocaine an incredibly vital song in FOB’s discography.
While Fall Out Boy began to hold back on their famously wordy song titles by third album Infinity On High (not including I’m Like A Lawyer With The Way I’m Always Trying To Get You Off (Me & You) and I’ve Got All This Ringing In My Ears And None On My Fingers), bonus track G.I.N.A.S.F.S. is one that Pete is particularly proud of. Standing for Gay Is Not A Synonym For Shitty, he told 1883, “I think it really holds true today, like people will just go, ‘That’s gay,’ and that’s not cool. It’s important to use language that’s non-offensive to other groups and I’m really proud of that.” It’s also just a superb song, boasting infectiously crunchy guitars, sweet and emotional lyrics, and the final instruction to, ‘Now press repeat.’ Don’t worry, guys – we do that Every. Single. Time.
What a way to close your debut album. Before Pete became Fall Out Boy’s prime lyricist he and Patrick split writing duties here, the vocalist/guitarist tackling the first verse and the bassist penning the latter. And the duo described this bitterly emotional pop-punk gem as a “dark ending” to Take This To Your Grave, with drop D guitars and brilliantly brutal lines like, ‘I still know the way to make your make-up run.’ On top of all of that, of course, it’s also got one of FOB’s all-time great sing-along choruses: ‘And when it all goes to hell / Will you be able to tell me SOOOORRYYYYYY with a straight face!’
Look, okay, this was technically a single with a shiny video featuring the band performing at a Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) festival – along with those llamas that kept popping up everywhere on the M A N I A cycle – but seeing as it wasn’t included on Volume Two of Believers Never Die we’re gonna defend our position that it still counts as underrated. In a career proudly incorporating a ton of left-turns the band still accomplished something completely new on album number seven… and HOLD ME TIGHT OR DON’T is by far the most fun of the lot.
The opening song on FOB’s more experimental fourth LP pretty much encapsulated everything that would follow on the often misunderstood Folie à Deux. Beautiful organs meet typically dynamic rock guitars and commanding drums on the Flintstones-referencing Disloyal Order Of Water Buffaloes, with guitarist Joe Trohman telling the San Francisco Chronicle of Fall Out Boy’s musical approach this time around, “It’s not like we said, ‘We want to push the envelope.’ We just wanted to try cooler things. The album still sounds like Fall Out Boy. It has big choruses. But you can’t do the same thing on every record.” Well, we’d very much consider this a success. All together now: ‘Detox just to retox!’
Following the many collaborations on Folie à Deux, Fall Out Boy seemingly went even bigger on the title-track of their 2013 comeback record. Recruiting the legendary Elton John on Save Rock And Roll’s closing song, it’s a real fists-in-the-air anthem that hears the crooner and Patrick sincerely promising, ‘I will defend the faith going down swinging / I will save the songs, the songs that we can’t stop singing.’ Elton also pops in the music video – part of FOB’s wider Young Blood Chronicles movie – as God, which… well, seems pretty accurate.
Featuring a sample of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, it is assumed that Hum Hallelujah addresses Pete’s attempted suicide in 2005. “I got in my car,” he said. “I remembered I was listening to Jeff Buckley doing Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah and sat there and took a bunch of Ativan in a Best Buy parking lot.” Lyrics like, ‘I sing the blues and swallow them too’ and, ‘Sometimes we take chances, sometimes we take pills’ give the song’s tone a considerably darker feel, despite the beautiful aforementioned sample and its overall gorgeously bright sound.
Fall Out Boy really had their hardcore roots out on display here, with a rumbling bass, breakneck drums and superb shout-along moments like, ‘You’ll have to prove yourself!’ Of course, there’s plenty of pop-punk to be enjoyed, too, Patrick, uh, proving he had the chops to seamlessly flip between genres. It all ends with Plain White T’s De’Mar Hamilton laughing in the studio during the recording, adding even more charm and personality to a song – and band – already overflowing with both. Just ace.
The Kerrang! Chart
The ultimate new music countdown – every Friday!
Chicago, New York, Boston and Los Angeles… it looks like you might be getting some huge Fall Out Boy gigs soon!
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