Rambling Dispatches: Fall Out Boy

fall out boy

Every Thursday in Rambling Dispatches, resident malcontent Quinn McGee rants about whatever he damn well pleases.

So hopefully you’ve been following the news and heard 2013’s biggest music story by now. I’m not talking about some new political movement or anything. I’m talking about something in our lives that really matters right now.


Do you know how awesome this news is? It’s going to change the music world. (Said no one ever.) Now, I am kind of a Fall Out Boy fan, and was one of those “emo” music kids back when they were on tour with Paramore, All-American Rejects and Taking Back Sunday. This is better known as the glory days.

I know people will just yell at their computers when I call that musical era “the glory days,” but I really mean it. For better or worse, the emo music craze (all the Warped Tour bands and stuff) was actually one of the defining musical crazes of our generation. People still mad at my assessment? That’s fine; denial is one of the stages of grief, so you’ll move out of it eventually. Despite hating the genre, which I kind of do now as well, it was influential. Where do you think a lot of the big rock music that’s out now came from? So when I heard that Fall Out Boy was coming back, of course I got excited, because it was a relic from the (recent) past coming back. So I thought I would share some reasons as to why I’m so excited about their comeback.

1) Regardless of whether you like them or not, they’re a Chicago band that started from nothing. These were some punk kids from the suburbs who started playing music with each other and then became one of the strongest musical presences of their generation, selling out shows and headlining tours in different cities all over the globe. There is something inspiring about all of that, and it was the soul of the emo boom. Many of the bands that were coming out around the same time and even earlier than Fall Out Boy and its peers were made of musicians coming from high school and college who felt they were not represented by the music around them. They went along and forged their own paths of expression, and second-wave emo came from this.

And in my opinion, Fall Out Boy was one of the leaders that brought emo and other rock subgenres to new heights of popularity. I know they’re not the only ones and that emo has its roots in earlier bands than Fall Out Boy, but let’s be real: Emo became more accessible in the early 2000s. And through that accessibility, more and more people started making music for themselves. I was one of those high school kids who was in a band, and while the music I played wasn’t emo, the sense of confidence I had that anyone could play music and be successful came from the emo boom. Hearing that this group is coming back, a band in the thick of the scene when it found its stride, is kind of a big deal because it’s a good bit of nostalgia and I’ll totally be listening to the new CD when it comes out.

2) Speaking of the new music, the new single is actually pretty good.

Now the reason it’s pretty good is because it’s not the usual Fall Out Boy from years prior. The song is more modern, and at least I could tell that they were experimenting with genre and trying something different. Another emo band comes to mind that did the same thing: Panic! At the Disco. They took longer producing their sophomore album, experimented with some stuff and came out with something different but nevertheless interesting. (There was a three-year gap between the two albums and a bandmate change.) I’m hoping that Fall Out Boy ends up doing the same, taking time to mature musically and then releasing something that’s much better than anything they could’ve made before the hiatus. Another reason I’m so optimistic is that all of the band members have been playing music with other groups that they either created or became a part of.

3) We’re coming up on the 10th anniversary of Take This to Your Grave, their debut full-length. Fall Out Boy has been around for more than a decade now, but what really put them on the map was “Grand Theft Autumn/Where is Your Boy,” which some of you are now probably humming to yourself right now. When I was in middle school, there was hardly a student in the entire place that didn’t at least know the chorus of that song. This new album is not just something new, it’s an anniversary celebration. It’s good to see something that was pretty huge in its time getting a sound-off like this. I was going through puberty when I was first listening to that album, and now I’m going into a professional career after college when the new album drops. It’s been 10 years now that I’ve had to awkwardly defend myself for liking this band. Here’s to 10 more.