After weeks of denying rumors of band activity, the members of influential pop-punk outfit Fall Out Boy shocked the world on Monday, Feb. 4, with massive news. The band dropped a new single, released an official statement about the end of its “indefinite hiatus,” and announced a new album and tour. The Internet absolutely exploded with the news; Alternative Press even liveblogged the events of the day, keeping fans up to date with everything the band was doing throughout the unexpectedly awesome day.
Since releasing a greatest hits album in 2009 and announcing an indefinite hiatus in 2010, members of the band — Patrick Stump, Pete Wentz, Joe Trohman and Andy Hurley — have all been working on solo and side projects. There was never any hint that the band would be making a come back, but a few months ago, rumors started to circulate. Despite that, the band remained staunch in its denial, with Wentz and Trohman stating on multiple occasions that a reunion wasn’t likely to happen anytime soon (if at all).
It would be fair to say the band was pulling the entire world’s leg; however, keep in mind that Wentz, the bassist and primary lyricist for the band since it first launched onto the pop-punk scene in 2001, has always been a master at twisting words. In the band’s official statement regarding its return from hiatus, it states: “this isn’t a reunion because we never broke up.” So denying rumors of a reunion wasn’t really lying, per se…
But who cares? Apparently, an entire generation (and then some). Reviews of the band’s new single, “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up),” cite Fall Out Boy as being one of the most influential bands many people have ever listened to, and ever since the band first released its debut record (Take This to Your Grave) in 2003, music magazines have gushed and guffawed at the material it’s produced. Fall Out Boy has been all over the pop-punk scene for years; in fact, some might say the band’s music oversaturated the market. But many artists that have launched onto the scene since Fall Out Boy blew up cite the band as being majorly influential. (Many of those bands actually got their start on Wentz’s record label, Decaydance.)
The announcement of an indefinite hiatus left many (including myself and some of my friends) feeling depleted, in some way, because our pre-teen and teen years had been so heavily coated in records like “Dance, Dance,” “Thriller,” and “A Little Less Sixteen Candles, A Little More ‘Touch Me’”. The announcement of new material and a new tour prompted tons of discussion on social media sites like Twitter. Wentz, who has used his Twitter as a sounding board ever since the site’s inception, took to the site to talk to fans as artists like The Ready Set and Blink-182′s Mark Hoppus also expressed excitement over the reunion.
However, it’s already clear from the feel of “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up)” that, despite a traditionally lengthy title containing a random pop culture reference (“I Know What You Did Last Summer,” for those who haven’t been taking notes) and a parenthetical that drives home the actual point of the song, Fall Out Boy as we know and love them are most likely dead. The track contains almost none of the band’s traditional sounds — the screaming guitar licks, heavy bass and smashing drum beats are nowhere to be found. The lyrics, however, are all Wentz; the chorus is catchy; and Stump’s vocals, despite doing nothing to drive his solo career to chart-topping highs, are as crisp, clear, and chill-inducing as ever.
It’s the video that makes it clearest that Fall Out Boy’s revamp likely has a more prominent to the band’s music than anything it’s done before. Starring rapper 2 Chainz and two unknown but beautiful women, the video features the rapper and his assistants burning all kinds of Fall Out Boy memorabilia. Like the photo taken in Chicago on Monday (see the top of this article), records make it into the bonfire, as well as classic symbols of the band’s history. (Anyone remember the antlers from the “Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down” video? Burned. Those crappy quality Fall Out Boy faux leather cuffs from Hot Topic? Burned.) At the end of the video, it’s revealed that all four members of the band have been missing from the rest of the video for a reason: they’re bound with bags over their heads in the back of a van, presumably the next victims for the fire.
Now let’s back up a little bit. Does anyone recall the video for “What a Catch, Donnie,” one of the singles from the band’s last album, Folie à Deux? Released shortly before the announcement of the band’s hiatus, the video features Stump all alone on a boat, singing and spending time with an injured seagull he nurses back to health. All the while, he fishes strange things from the sea — including a set of antlers that look mighty familiar, as well as giant letters reading “F O B”. At the end of the song, segments of the band’s past singles are sung by artists like William Beckett, Travie McCoy, and Brendon Urie, while Stump rescues each of these people (and more) from a ship wreck not far from his own boat.
There are two versions of the video for “What a Catch, Donnie.” One features a bad green screen image of Wentz going down with that sinking ship, an image that is haunting for any Fall Out Boy fan who knows anything about historical shipwrecks (or pays attention to lyrics — “They say the captain / goes down with the ship” is a line featured in the song). The other doesn’t feature Wentz at all; though Stump stars throughout and rescues Trohman and Hurley from the shipwreck, Wentz is never seen. The first version was shown on MTV in 2009 and later the video was changed, supposedly because the band didn’t like the poor CGI in Wentz’s demise.
So, Fall Out Boy has remade itself with every album release. It sank (“loose lips sink ships”, anyone?) in 2009 and went on hiatus, but now it’s on fire. Wentz has always loved his vague Biblical imagery; could “Save Rock and Roll” (released worldwide May 6 and May 7) feature a side of Fall Out Boy that no one, not even the most die-hard fans, are expecting? It seems we’ll have to wait and see…