Friday, April 26, 2013

Is Fall Out Boy Saving Rock and Roll?

At first listen to the new Fall Out Boy album Save Rock and Roll I was hooked. More than hooked probably. It's possible that if you live in the Atlanta area, you've seen me, windows rolled down jamming out to the single off the album "My Songs Know What You Did In the Dark (Light Em Up)". I love that song. It's catchy and dark and angry and it's fantastic loud and with the windows down as summer finally starts to find its way here.

I like the entire album actually. There are a few things I could have gone without. I'm not sure why Big Sean was needed on "The Mighty Fall" unless you subscribe to the notion that in order to be a Top 40 hit, every son needs a rap interlude (or turns into whatever it is that Nelly did to "Cruise" by Florida Georgia Line--which by the way wasn't a good song to begin with). Since I don't that annoyed me, but the actual lyrics to the rap interlude to amuse me and it is good even if the song doesn't need it.

I maybe wouldn't have gone with Courtney Love. Yes, she was chic rock of the 90s, with Hole and being married to the heart of rock and roll at the time. (Agree with that or not but you know ever 90s rocker kid had a soft spot for Kurt Cobain even if it was just because he was the first person to make them feel something.) But her post-Kurt life looks quite a bit like Lindsay Lohan's trainwreck of a life (though at least Courtney has good reason and not 'Disney made me popular' a la Miss Lohan) and the kids we need to save rock and roll for don't remember when. Sometimes I don't think they even can. Of course what are your other options? Gwen Stefani who is farther removed from the Tragic Kingdom rocker girl days than her husband Gavin-used-to-be-in-a-rock-band-Rosdale. (You know my friends went to a Bush show and threw bras at the stage. It's weird to think of that.) So maybe Courtney is the only choice and maybe she's right. I sure as hell associate with what her lyrics were saying. Who cares about what the kids think?

On a whole though, that seems to be the tone. It's not Take This To Your Grave. It's not even close. I watched my younger friends all but murder and maim to get tickets to the new tour this spring, pre-order the album and flip out about the reunion. Then, a few days after the album came out, one friend tweeted me "It's not the same".

She's right. It's not.

It's not even in the same ballpark. Because Fall Out Boy isn't the same angsty teens running around Warped Tour like these kids who love them are. They grew up. They have lives, families. They watched friends in the business, leave the business for "real" lives. They were honored as ushering in rock and roll to pop music when it was devoid of it then hung out to dry by the media overplaying the shit out of their singles. Their bassist played a love interest on One Tree Hill. More than once. As himself. It was cool to hate FOB and cooler to give those of us the same age as the band shit for liking them.

How on earth can you hope for an album about young love and hurting like hell?

No, this album is for those of us in our late twenties, to plug into and remember that we aren't alone. Other people feel the same way. It's been a long while since someone over 25 i has been on the pop charts singing about what it feels like to be over 25. Songs like "Miss Missing You" and "Alone Together' aren't songs about college hook ups. They're something beyond that, a step that comes after.

The kids won't get it.

They won't understand the way "Young Volcanoes" reminds me of "Here I am Alive" by Yellowcard and an attitude towards the industry. (I could be wrong here, but damnit they do remind me of one another in tone).

So it begs the question, are they doing it? Are Fall Out Boy Saving Rock and Roll?:


Not even close. I give saving rock and roll, but I'd rather give that credit to bands like THe Wonder Years or The Swellers. Bands that can fill a room full of 17 year old boys yelling and feeling things. Not Fall Out Boy.

That said, I do think they are saving pop music. At least until they release that Big Sean track as a single.


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