Pop punk has already had its commercial golden age. It came in the mid 2000s, when I was going through high school. Fall Out Boy were the kings of that era, and we made sure to shout it from the rooftops. I have followed this band around on tour to the point where I probably knew the set list better than they did. Between my sister and I, we own every single album, single, B-side. My email address is a misheard Fall Out Boy lyric (which in this one case, actually turned out to be better than the original). I have plenty of Clandestine clothing. Everything points at me being one of Fall Out Boy’s number one fans, but I’m not. At least, I haven’t been for years. When high school ended, and Fall Out Boy released Folie a Deux, it was time to move on to different things.
Now I am twenty-two years old. Four years have passed since the last Fall Out Boy album and I’ve graduated from one degree and moved on to another. Pete, Patrick, Andy and Joe all went their separate ways for a while. This website, initially little more than a blog, grew up into something a little bit bigger. We can finally call ourselves a ‘zine’. I went and saw other bands on other labels. I read Patrick’s essay on Alternative Press, about how he wanted a break from music because of all the hassle and stress it was bringing. I watched from the sidelines as more and more of the Decaydance bands split. I had boyfriends who didn’t know who the fuck Fall Out Boy were, nor cared. Pete Wentz maintained his penchant for swearing lots on stage whenever he came to the UK with his god-awful side project. Other bands, like Blink-182 came out of hiatus. Rumours would fly every six months or so about a Fall Out Boy reunion, but none ever came to fruition. Patrick’s solo album was outstanding as far as I could see, but the critics didn’t rate it. Andy and Joe’s time in The Damned Things was pretty awesome. Time just… went by.
Occasionally, Fall Out Boy would come up on my shuffle, and I would smile. They were a reminder of my teen years, more so than any other band. I rarely decided to listen to an album though, too busy with the tidal wave of promos that threatened to decimate my inbox. It’s not that I didn’t care. I’ve always cared. I’d just burnt myself out on them. Like they needed a hiatus, I needed a break.
But I didn’t realise how much I needed a Fall Out Boy reunion until it happened. There’d been a few false starts, but as soon as the proper announcement and the video exploded all over my Twitter feed, I felt my heart race. I listened to the song. I listened to all the songs, and I found that I remembered every single word. I texted people. None of them were that bothered, but I was. I belted out the lyrics as I sped down the motorway. It wasn’t like I’d been transported back to my youth again at all, because let’s get one thing straight, no Fall Out Boy album has been the same as its predecessor. Pete’s lyrics have gotten more metaphoric and Patrick’s experimented more and more with different genres. It’s this change that arguably led me to become disenchanted with the band, especially thanks to Folie a Deux. I still maintain that Take This To Your Grave is the best thing they ever did, built from heartbreak and mayhem and distilled into gloriously irreverent bursts, but like Patrick said, there would be no sense in writing another TTTYG. They’re in a completely different moment of time. Save Rock And Roll is not going to be a pop-punk album, but I can’t wait to see exactly what it will be. I’m not waiting for Fall Out Boy to come and show the newcomers how it has been done, but how to do it now. The new track is audacious, laden with hooks and takes more than a few cues from the music that Patrick’s been writing in the downtime. This is not Fall Out Boy as we know it, but something new. And that’s why this reunion matters so much. I have grown up, and Fall Out Boy have too.
Just one thing – no more hardcore screams, Pete. Please.