In support of Fall Out Boy

Why you should stop hating on the pop punks in 2009

Despite the douchey eyeliner of Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz (left), the band has mastered a grown-up pop punk sound on the new album Folie A Deux.]img alt=Despite the douchey eyeliner of Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz (left), the band has mastered a grown-up pop punk sound on the new album Folie A Deux.
Despite the douchey eyeliner of Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz (left), the band has mastered a grown-up pop punk sound on the new album “Folie A Deux.””

Fall Out Boy is one of those bands that people love to hate. Or at least love to hate on.

My history with this band may wind a little deeper than yours, but hear me out – I too was a hater at one time.

I first discovered this Chicago pop-punk quartet five years ago, when I was introduced to “Grand Theft Autumn” in high school and put it on repeat a few too many times.

Listening to Fall Out Boy’s first album “Take This To The Grave,” I remember hearing my friend Grant tell me that this band was not good looking enough to make it big.

While Grant knew deep down that these skinny white boys would make it eventually, he probably couldn’t have predicted their relevance to our generation. While they have plenty of pre-teens lusting after them like a boy band, Fall Out Boy are doing a lot more for music than the Backstreet Boys.

The new album “Folie A Deux” is 13 tracks of sweet pop-punk melodies with R&B flavors that reflect an all-grown up Fall Out Boy. Bassist and designated frontman Pete Wentz writes most of the lyrics, which, as Rolling Stone puts it, are more tongue-in-cheek than heart-on-sleeve.

Singer/guitarist Patrick Stump turns the words into tangible music, and together the band is able to poke fun at themselves as well as others.

“Nobody wants to hear you sing about tragedy,” Stump sings in the new single “I Don’t Care.”

Now, I haven’t always been a fan. Sure the earlier gems took me, but when FOB hit mainstream, got nominated for a Grammy and took over TRL and most of America, it wasn’t too cool to like them anymore.

But “Deux” has brought me back from the dark side – the album’s got lasting power and a lot of surefire hits that will only get on your nerves if forced upon you.

It’s easy to get distracted by the black eyeliner and pretty boy antics of Wentz, who soaks up about as much media attention for pictures of his la-la as Britney Spears does for hers.

Even if Wentz is a much of a douche as he appears to be, his big personality and pretty face helped propel the Chicago punks to rewrite the formula for making it as a rock band.

Stump is producing the bands on Wentz’s imprint label Decaydence, who are almost all hits: Panic At The Disco and Cobra Starship are just a few.

What it comes down to is this: their music is worth listening to again, with influences and guest appearances even your parents would appreciate, like Elvis Costello.

And now that their fame has settled down to a manageable level, Wentz’s ego is worth bearing, as the band has solidified itself amid a smorgasbord of poseurs, copycats and corporate tools.

If you don’t believe me, the A-list cameos (even Sarah Palin is in there!) in FOB’s new video for “I Don’t Care,” cement the group’s status in 2009.

Reach Daniel Ucko at
dlucko@gmail.com

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