Fall Out Boy. Let’s do it. A pop punk band with vast potential who then got bigger, and bigger, and somehow even bigger than that until they decided to disband for the time being. They’re probably one of the biggest pop punk bands on the planet and the earlier albums of ‘Take This To Your Grave’ and ‘From Under The Cork Tree’ undoubtedly influenced many bands we love oh so much today. Combine all that with our ‘Versus’ feature and it seems pretty clear what’s going on here. Yep. Head to head, which is better?
Two of Already Heard’s writers, Tom White and Michael Brown go head to head to tell you which album they think is best and why.
Tom will be defending the honor of 2003 album ‘Take This To Your Grave,’ whilst Michael will be battling as to why ‘From Under The Cork Tree’ from 2005 wins as the best Fall Out Boy album.
Although not technically Fall Out Boy’s first album (’Evening Out With Your Girlfriend’ was their first, yet for some reason often not counted) ’Take This To Your Grave’ shows a band limping their way to maturity with musical passion. It is with these growing pains that ‘Take This To Your Grave’ concerns itself with and this is why it is my favourite Fall Out Boy album.
From opener ‘Tell Mick He Just Made My List Of Things To Do Today,’ there is a nervous and unrefined energy that characterises this album and unlike later releases, it is a highly relatable record of teenage angst. The lyrics are full of spite and truth, a trademark of all of Fall Out Boy’s records but especially evident here.
Songs like ‘Grenade Jumper’ show a band that are having fun with their music also, and this is a side that is rarely seen in the poker-faced and grandiose ‘Infinity On High.’There is also a certain sense of intimacy to songs like ‘Grand Theft Autumn’ which makes them all the more relatable. There is also the small matter of these songs having the catchiest hooks in pop-punk music, perhaps ever.
Whilst I am not claiming that success tainted the enjoyment of the likes of ‘Sugar, We’re Going Down’ and ’Dance, Dance’ there is an extent to which these “hits” are irritatingly over-familiar. The amount they have been overplayed on radio, TV and in clubs is truly frustrating. In comparison, ‘Take This To Your Grave’ sounds personal and unspoilt. Tracks like ‘The Patron Saint of Liars and Fakes’ still feel fresh despite being older. The album also feels more like a “proper album” which is perhaps not true of ’Folie A Deux’ or ’Infinity On High’ which at times feels bitty, pieced together and over-produced.
Overall, ’Take This To Your Grave’ remains my favourite Fall Out Boy record due to its’ lasting earnestness and the sheer amount of hooky pop-punk classics on the album.
From Under The Cork Tree (by Michael Brown)
This is it. This is where Fall Out Boy absolutely nailed it. So much so that this is where their reputation grew and grew. Still, it’s no surprise; at least this album proves that there are plenty of people in the world who still know a good album when they hear one.
And why is that? Well, I guess this album has got more of a pop vibe to it. It’s still pop punk, but there’s certainly big hitters on there, or singles as the big music honchos over in music business land would call them. Yeah, you know them. If you didn’t hear ‘Dance, Dance’ or ‘Suger, We’re Going Down’ back in 2005 then you probably weren’t alive. For many of our generation they’re filled with an absolute bucket load of nostalgia and that certainly helps stamp an album into memories passed.
Heading straight into ‘Nobody Puts Baby In The Corner’ we start to understand what consistency is all about. Each song on this album could’ve been a single, potentially. There’s enough hooks in this album that it’s hard to not remember most of the words. The lyrics are the transcript of so many teenage minds, cementing it more so into that teenage mindset and all the nostalgia that sticks with it. I mean, they’re pretty clever but deep lyrics throughout and Mr Patrick Stump delivers them so fantastically. Surely he’s one of the best singers within pop punk?
It’s pop punk with a heavy dose of pop. It is, let’s not deny it. Who doesn’t like pop though? Pop is popular, that’s kind of the point of it. It makes this album accesible to a wider audience which is great for the band and to your friends as well. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has friends that aren’t into the same kind of music, but it’s albums like this that help to blur those boundaries and help bring your friends over to where the real talent lies.
Thank Fall Out Boy for making an absolute landmark in pop punk. It’s got the lyrics, it’s got the hooks and it’s even got singing that’s actually real good! Keep it on this summer, rain or shine.
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