I am not your typical Fall Out Boy fan (if there is such a thing). I’m too old. I do not belong to the generation they speak for. I first got into the band because I saw a video animating the many mondegreens (misheard lyrics) in the song Sugar, We’re Going Down. I was convinced that it couldn’t be that hard to work out what he was actually saying. So I set out to prove it.
Listening to one song over a dozen times on headphones and going back and forth over the same lines repeatedly till you work out that the weird strangulated sound is actually the word ‘mausoleum’ will either make you love it or lead to hunting the singer down and stringing them up by their own vocal chords. In my case it gave me an appreciation for how clever the lyrics were and what a great voice Patrick Stump has.
That video did have a point though. So did the many other hilarious videos. Patrick’s diction did need work. Something that he recognised and did something about. It’s much easier to hear what he’s saying on the later albums. Which is important because those lyrics are so fucking clever.
When you watch the same music video over a dozen times it will give YouTube the idea that you really like the band and it will start showing their other music videos. That’s how I learned that Sugar wasn’t a fluke. All their songs have great lyrics and glorious music and Patrick’s voice just keeps getting better.
I understand that they’re considered ‘Emo’. I think that’s a bad name for the genre. All music is emotional. Fall Out Boy are Nerd Rock. They’re clever and they won’t hide it. They are unironically enthusiastic about stuff. They have zero time for the traditional macho posturing usually associated with rock bands. Their lyrics and videos are full of pop culture references and social critiques. They seem kind of weirded out by the whole fame thing and they keep bringing that up in both the lyrics and the videos.
They’re also Tumblr Rock. They feel stuff and they have opinions and they won’t just assume your gender or sexuality. Their music videos are simultaneously glossy and professional and also a little bit home-made and deliberately shitty. They turned an album called Save Rock And Roll into a feature length film . They released it for free on YouTube as a series of interlinked music videos with cameos by Elton John, Courtney Love, Tommy Lee, Foxes and Big Sean. That’s exactly the kind of thing a Tumblr blogger would think is a good idea. And even though it is clearly not a good idea they made it work.
Now I’ve said a lot about how clever their lyrics are but I haven’t shown you any proof. So here are a few that have stuck with me.
I’m just a notch in your bedpost, but you’re just a line in a song
I’ll be your number one with a bullet. A loaded God complex, cock it and pull it
You’re a cherry blossom, you’re about to bloom. You look so pretty, but you’re gone so soon
I’m here to collect your hearts, it’s the only reason that I sing. I don’t believe a word you say but I can’t stop listening
I know I expect too much, and not enough all at once. You know I only wanted fun then you got me all fucked up on love
I was gonna say something that would solve all our problems but then I got drunk and I forgot what I was talking about
All of your flaws are aligned with this mood of mine, cutting me to the bone, nothing left to leave behind
You ought to keep me concealed just like I was a weapon. I didn’t come for a fight but I will fight till the end
From The Mighty Fall
Your crooked love is just a pyramid scheme and I’m dizzy on dreams. But if you ask me two’s a whole lot lonelier than one. Baby we should have left our love in the gutter where we found it. ‘Cause you think your only crime is that you got caught
From Just One Yesterday
Anything you say can and will be held against you. So only say my name, it will be held against you
I want to teach you a lesson in the worst kind of way. Still, I’d trade all my tomorrows for just one yesterday
From Save Rock and Roll
You are what you love, not who loves you
I could keep adding lyrics all day but at some point I have to stop and post this. Just go and listen to some Fall Out Boy.