They're more than just another emo nostalgia band
Grace Carroll

15:27 4th February 2013

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2013 has been the year of comebacks for a wide range of bands - from Bowie to Black Flag to, well, B*witched - and now Fall Out Boy have got in on the act. Yes, Fall Out Boy - the band universally disparaged for ushering in the 00s era of guyliner and skinny jeans. But now they've moved past all that - which is good, seeing as they're all hitting their 30s - and they've returned with new song 'My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Let Em Up)'.

Okay, so their penchant for overly long song names doesn't seem to have left them. But at least it's not quite at the level of earlier single 'I'm Like a Lawyer with the Way I'm Always Trying to Get You Off (Me & You)'.

When it comes to the excitement surrounding the Fall Out Boy comeback, there's no denying that there is definitely a certain amount of nostalgia involved. Anyone who was fourteen and considered themselves 'alternative' will remember the days when Pete Wentz seemed like the most important person in the world, and no one - male or female - left the house without insisting on straightening their fringe over one eye. We all did it, okay? And none of us are proud.

Still, take away the emotional attachment to Fall Out Boy and there's no denying that they were still incredibly great at what they did. Their 2003 album Take This To Your Grave (TTTYG) is an almost flawless slice of pop-punk, despite the success of the more mainstream follow-up From Under the Cork Tree. The record had just the right amount of sincerity, cynicism and slick pop-culture references - it didn't matter if you were 14 or 24, TTTYG would appeal to the streak of teenage bitterness inside all of us.

Follow-up record From Under the Cork Tree only added to that - blasting out one catchy hook-filled chorus after another, with the often deceptive and tragic lyrics underpinning the bombastic pop songs. But it was on Infinity On High that Fall Out Boy showed signs of being more than just another emo scene band, all with the same tongue in cheek sense of self-awareness that stops the band from ever taking themselves too seriously, with aptly titled track 'Don't You Know Who I Think I Am?'.

So it's no surprise that critics are already set to hate 'My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark', citing the inclusion of 2Chainz and all out unashamed poppiness of it all. But let's remember; Fall Out Boy broke up - sorry, 'went on hiatus' - right after the release of Folie A Deux, so it's no surprise that the new song seems to carry on the musical progession heard there.

Folie A Deux marked a continuation of the departure from the band's previous sound that many fans actually hated, despite the fact that it was released five years after Take This To Your Grave, and Fall Out Boy have never made a secret of the fact that they want to evolve and change as they grew older and are constantly pushing themselves - making them one of the only remnants of the so-called 'scene' who do so.

"What you want if you're asking that question is a specific time in your life to come back to you, and that will never happen," lead singer Patrick Stump said, in response to people who want the band to return to their earlier style. "You will never be 15 years old again. I could write, verbatim, another Take This To Your Grave, and you won't feel the same way. It's not going to mean anything to you because it wouldn't mean anything to me."

Folie A Deux wasn't Take This To Your Grave - far from it. But it did include a musical maturity and range of genres that TTTYG didn't - 80s funk style on 'Tiffany Blews' and soul meets punk-pop on 'America's Suitehearts'. Fall Out Boy have the musical talent to back up their often jokey image, which is something often overlooked by their detractors.

Fall Out Boy aren't going to, as the title of their new album suggests, Save Rock and Roll (and to all those who are taking the title seriously, let's remember that Fall Out Boy enjoy irony in a way that few other bands do). But they just might provide the adrenaline injection that pop-rock needs.

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Photo: Fall Out Boy