Friday, June 5, 2015

Why Fall Out Boy Has Continued to Meet "The (Shipped) Gold Standard"


Poetic lyrics about all of life's moments coupled with energetic guitar riffs make Fall Out Boy easy for me to musically admire. For over a decade since their first release, this pop rock band from my hometown, Chicago, has produced nothing short of excellence.

From earlier songs such as "Dead on Arrival" to newer hits such as "The Kids Aren't Alright," this band has displayed their musical diversity that has even impressed listeners outside the scene, with songs such as "Thnks Fr Th Mmrs" and "Centuries" appearing on the radio. 

Primary songwriter for the band, Pete Wentz, is able to craft deep lyrics that give sustenance to emotion. The band's carefully chosen lyrics, sung by Patrick Stump with his extensive vocal range, can be fulfilling to the soul but more than just snippets from diary entries, such as "You are a getaway car, a rush of blood to the head / But me, I'm just the covers on top of your bed / You steer away in a rear view mirror, you make my head swim / I keep you warm and won't ask you where you've been," from "Champagne for my Real Friends, Real Pain for my Sham Friends."

Song titles like the aforementioned are often long and mysterious in nature, but often connect to the song's meaning somehow. These titles are often comical in nature as well, such as "Our Lawyer Made Us Change the Name of This Song So We Wouldn't Get Sued" and "Chicago Is So Two Years Ago." 

from left to right: Andy Hurley, Pete Wentz, Patrick Stump, and Joe Trohman during 2013.  
(click caption for source)
Drummer Andy Hurley, guitarist Joe Trohman, bassist Pete Wentz, and lead singer Patrick Stump have worked well together to produce brilliant music, despite the rough patches they have experienced over the years. In HuffPost, Stump explains that him and his fellow band members "found ourselves running on fumes a little bit -- creatively and probably as people, too" not long after the release of their not entirely well-received album "Folie à Deux." 

For the best interests of their music and personal wellbeing, Fall Out Boy underwent a hiatus from 2009 to 2013. 

The band's comeback album in 2013, "Save Rock and Roll", was released and contained a heartfelt sound likely influenced by the experiences of members as they dealt with issues during their hiatus, such as Pete Wentz working to overcome his problem with drug abuse. Throughout the album, there are songs about nostalgia, loneliness, and emotional pain masked with more engaging beats and melodies that give listeners the chills from the band's re-ignited passion for music.

"Save Rock and Roll" has a much more radio-friendly, pop - and maybe even techno - sound (as well as shorter song titles), but the band's newer music is still adored by much of the scene due to their continuance of producing unique sounds and quality lyrics. Although the band does not talk about their hometown in songs much anymore, many more of their lyrics have taken on wider connections and meaning to the world. 

Because of the broader lyrics and more techno sound, some fans of Fall Out Boy were not impressed by their newer music. However, the band kept many pre-SRAR fans and gained countless new ones who had been exposed to their new music from the radio, television ("Light 'Em Up" is featured in several sporting events), and social media. Collaborations with Big Sean and Elton John on the album, in addition to other featured artists, also helped the album appeal to a wider range of listeners. 

Even with their broadened fan base and new sound, Fall Out Boy did not lose support from the alternative music industry. In mid-2014, they received the Alternative Press Award for Artist of the Year.

Later that year, Fall Out Boy released another album, "American Beauty/American Psycho." Like SRAR, this album proved to be popular with audiences outside the scene, even having the single "Immortals" featured in the Disney film Big Hero 6 and becoming the band's third Number 1 album.

Although Fall Out Boy's sound has changed since their original formation and many former fans claim the band has 'sold out,' I believe that their new sound has not hindered their credibility as a band or appeal to listeners. If anything, Fall Out Boy has proven that taking risks in the music industry can show the world that bands can successfully perform more than one style of music, as well as being able to rise again to the top after dark times.

(Disclaimer: The title is not my entirely my original intellectual property. "The (Shipped) Gold Standard" is a song by Fall Out Boy.)