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A brief look back at a band that left its mark on a generation

Many would tell you that Fall Out Boy was finished long before the release of their full-length finale, Folie A Deux, but the record certainly had something of a goodbye feel to it. There is no way of discerning whether or not it was intended to be a farewell album, but the cumulative resume-to-date of singles tidily collaged together in the background of “What A Catch, Donnie” certainly seems to imply that they knew the end was coming. And for someone who grew up with the awkward looking, off-key underdogs, that probably had more of an impact than it did on most. It’s true that the band had begun to overstay their (very brief) welcome, saturating radio stations to the point of nausea while their albums were infiltrated by guest musicians like Jay-Z – whose presence on “Thriller” was arbitrary and purely promotional. But even in the “selling out” of their sound, FOB never lost their down-to-earth touch; in fact, they could often be heard mocking their own commercialization. Popular single “This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race” is a prime illustration, with lyrics comparing the music scene to an arms race and proclaiming, “as long as the room keeps singin’ / that’s just the business I’m in.” It was moments like this that, even in the midst of an enormous popularity explosion, offered a glimpse into the heart of a band that maybe didn’t change so much after all.

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This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race

Call me naive, but I think that Fall Out Boy was completely self-aware. They knew exactly what their role was, from their warm underground reception to their full-blown mainstream roller coaster ride. And as a product of that cognizance, they were able to retain a lot of fans that otherwise would have felt betrayed when they took the path of fame and fortune. Perhaps it is the sensation of a band selling their identity in favor of trendy bells and whistles that leaves a bad taste in the mouths of diehards, but for whatever reason Fall Out Boy seemed to dodge that trap. I think it was their blatant honesty that saved them…there was this whole “we’re selling out and we know it, but we’ve still got something for the guys who held us down in the rougher times” feel to their music that made it seem less fake and more satirical. When succumbing to the sweet, intoxicating lips of fame, you might as well poke fun at your lack of will power, right?

Fall Out Boy enjoyed their greatest success during the two album run that contained From Under The Cork Tree and Infinity On High. There was nothing overtly unique about the music they made, but their impeccable style and confident delivery is what made them frontrunners in the mid-2000’s pop-punk movement. A song as fun as “Dance, Dance”, as catchy as “Thnks Fr Th Mmrs”, or as melodic as “Me & You” is still to this day hard to come by, and even though it’s a service that a lot of us scoff at, it is one that the non-rap/non-R&B mainstream scene needs desperately.

So with Patrick Stump leaning towards quitting music altogether, there is definitely an air of sadness now when I listen to a song like “Grand Theft Autumn” or “I’ve Got a Dark Alley and a Bad Idea That Says You Should Shut Your Mouth.” They aren’t the Beatles of our time, but they certainly left a void that I have yet to see another band step up and fill. If neither Fall Out Boy nor Patrick Stump make music in the future, I think that’s a hole that will remain open for a long, long time.





SowingSeason
03.02.12
Basically just a quick 30 minute response to me finding out that Patrick Stump may be done making music.

Aphrodisiac
03.02.12
This Ain't A Scene is such a great song

Aphrodisiac
03.02.12
Btw, great read. I completely agree.

BallsToTheWall
03.02.12
Great read.

Xenophanes
03.02.12
Neat response to the news. Good read.

I only listened to Cork Tree and it was pretty good. Haven't felt compelled to check anything else out. maybe I will spin it again for nostalgia...

elephantREVOLUTION
03.02.12
good read. i was never big into this band but they have some pretty damn catchy songs

SowingSeason
03.02.12
That's how most people feel about them (in reference to them just being catchy). The only way they meant anything more to you is through association, but after years of awesomely fun songs, that was inevitable.

Spare
03.02.12
haha sowingseason

theacademy
03.02.12
disagree with most of this, and i loved fall out boy

also, u might want to choose your words differently here:

"while their albums were infiltrated by guest musicians like Jay-Z – whose presence on “Thriller” was arbitrary and purely promotional."

Jay-Z was president of Def-Jam at the time; also the track that immediately follows "Thriller" is "The Takeover, the Break's Over" ... Jay's presence can hardly be called "arbitrary"...

Trebor.
03.02.12
A band with one good album
RIP

VicariousIntent
03.02.12
Good writing man. I read Patrick's blog post in it's entirety and it's even more sad when you hear his reasons for leaving in his own words. Really sucks how fickle a fanbase can be, but that's music for you.

I can't pretend I knew exactly what you meant by your last paragraph, but I'd say that fun. is sort of filling that hole that FOB left. That's not to say they're similar at all, but I'm saying I feel like they're slowly occupying the position that FOB used to hold. Sort of. I don't know.

mastille
03.02.12
This Ain't A Scene is such a great song [2]

And my favorite video of theirs. On par with the monkeys.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNm5drtAQXs&ob=av3e

mastille
03.02.12
Glad to see FOB getting some love here for what they were worth.

Maybe Panic! at the Disco will come out with another album like their last one and fill the hole.

Or we could move to Japan; the catchy rock scene's alive and kicking there.

balcaen
03.02.12
awesome read. nice to see a bit of an official nod to this band after all the hate they get on here.
bummer about patrick.

SowingSeason
03.02.12
Thanks guys, always appreciate the kind words.

acad, I understand where you are coming from too, maybe arbitrary was a questionable choice of words. Either way, I always felt like his presence felt forced.

keyboardxmosh
03.02.12
Why would Patrick Stump stop FUCK NO.

clercqie
03.02.12
Great read Sowing.

It's been a while since I listened to Cork Three, but that was a great, fun record.

SowingSeason
03.02.12
Thanks clercqie. I loved cork tree too.

Tyrael
03.02.12
Dear Steve,

there are those moments when can't do anything else but love you

this is one of them

Tyrael
03.02.12
when I*

SowingSeason
03.02.12
I didn't know you liked fob

Gyromania
03.02.12
Good read. I'm one of the few who aren't ashamed to admit they like Fall Out Boy. As far as their albums go, I think 'Infinity on High' is their most 'whole' album, whilst FUcT serves more as a collection of great songs (Seriously, how fucking immensely awesome is XO!?) That said, I was a little bit disappointed with their final album, but perhaps it's time to spin it again and see if I can get into it. Without nostalgic attachment, I don't think it will hold up well, but I'll give it a fair shot.

Athom
03.02.12
Remember seeing them open for Taking Back Sunday with The Sleeping and Matchbook Romance back in 2004. fun show

wacknizzle
03.02.12
Good read, I was never really into fall out boy but i've decided to give them a listen today for the hell of it and reminisce on all the songs that I only used to hear in the background when I was in high school.

wacknizzle
03.02.12
I've been to that same kinda show except it was TBS, Atreyu, and Funeral For a Friend in 03'.

Tyrael
03.02.12
'I didn't know you liked fob'

I have Take This To Your Grave 5'd

Trebor.
03.02.12
You were the last good thing about this part of town

mastille
03.02.12
I STILL love Funeral for a Friend...

The one FOB song I can't stand is Sugar We're Goin' Down, because of the lazy instrumentals and how big it got anyway. But they sometimes did it just right (Mmrs, Dance Dance), and were interesting and creative. Miss them...

Douglas
03.03.12
I read the Stump blog, poor bloke. Nice write up, will miss the FOB, was a huge fan back in the day.

Irving
03.03.12
Such an amazing band. Infinity on High and Folie A Deux are such incredibly fun albums.

paxman
03.03.12
Good, quick read, but I have to disagree because you seem to insinuate that for some bands the decision to "sell out" is not a conscious one or that some bands or artists are not aware that they are "selling out." I think some bands, like FOB, are just rueful while doing it: like "We're sorry we're writing these shit songs but the record company execs want us to make more money. And we'd be lying if we said we didn't like the money too." While others are the least bit sympathetic.

That's my impression anyway.

Inveigh
03.03.12
wasn't ever really a "fan' of these guys per se, but I dated a girl who was super into them from like 2002-2005 so I ended up listening to Take This To Your Grave and the Cork Tree one quite a bit. They definitely wrote some damn catchy songs, sucks to hear about the stumpy guy.

great write up SowingSeason.

AtavanHalen
03.03.12
love fob forever

SowingSeason
03.03.12
Yesssss atavan I agree

Tyrael
03.03.12
just listened to IOH for the first time in years, it felt like coming home

thatoneguy726
03.03.12
I may have teared up just slightly. Like you said, it's the association. I just went back to Jr. high and back. This band brought me and this kid together who became my best friend for a long time. I was never disappointed by their changing style. Still awesome music, and equally great lyrics.

FromDaHood
03.03.12
I really liked reading this

TheSpirit
03.03.12
Great write-up and great band

Cipieron
03.03.12
lol this band

klap
03.04.12
didn' realize this band was so popular. folie a deux was nice though

klap
03.04.12
kind of an exaggeration but yeah heard enough sugar we're going down to last me a lifetime

LifeAsAChipmunk
03.04.12
Aw, quitting music all together seems a bit much...What are the chances they'll pull a Blink-182 and reform?

@Trebor, they had 2 good albums, I dunno what you're talking about (jk).

LifeAsAChipmunk
03.04.12
I've actually never heard these guys on the radio, except for once, and it was This Ain't A Scene. I thought it was God awful then, and again when I listened to the rest of the album. But I like it now...

thatoneguy726
03.04.12
If they pulled a Blink, even just for a tour, I'd so be there.

Funeralopolis
03.04.12
false emo band

Cipieron
03.04.12
false band

Aids
03.04.12
these guys were pretty hit or miss for me. I really liked most of their singles but a lot of the lesser known songs of theirs are pretty bad. Also, Pete Wentz is one of the worst people ever.

Metalstyles
03.04.12
Really nice blog post Sowing and I can relate. FOB are great and I do hope they come back sometime in the future.

Metalstyles
03.04.12
Agreed, andcas.

theacademy
03.04.12
sex drive was such an awesome movie

Gyromania
03.04.12
^Haha, the ending is hilarious.

Acanthus
03.04.12
Great band.

Ayon
03.06.12
This whole situation reminds of how Blur were getting shit on by everybody, fans incluided, after The Great Escape and then they changed their sound pretty dramatically and became critical darlkings. Maybe Patrick is getting ready to release a Pavement-esque album of his own like blur did....Ok probably not but what the hell right?

alextheantichrist
03.08.12
Thanks for posting this. I really enjoyed this.

SowingSeason
07.16.12
Heard Grand Theft Autumn today and it got me wishing these guys would get back together

Metalstyles
07.16.12
I wouldn't be opposed to it either. Fun band to listen to from time to time and they definitely got too much shit while they were together.

Funeralopolis
07.17.12
no good music and its all their fallt

SowingSeason
06.27.13
Ugh their new album doesn't do justice to their reputation...makes this while write up feel foolish

SowingSeason
06.27.13
Whole...stupid smart phone

Trebor.
06.27.13
Summary of article:

Shit band

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