Four Years Off Gave Fall Out Boy Some Perspective

Fall Out Boy is to blame for a lot of what was bad about the middle of the last decade: The broad acceptance of 19-word song titles; males wearing the jeans that inspired Kanye West to rap, "They just buy tight jeans 'til they nuts hang all out, boy"; even the continuous presence of Ashlee Simpson, who married FOB bassist Pete Wentz.

So when Fall Out Boy announced its indefinite hiatus four years ago, it seemed everyone breathed a sigh of relief. Juding by the band's 2009 Tempe Beach Park performance, where fans booed as singer Patrick Stump looked dejected, even Fall Out Boy appeared to be sick of Fall Out Boy.

Four empty years passed, with members' half-hearted solo projects unable to compare to the power the group had together. Stump couldn't even sell out Martini Ranch when he came to Scottsdale as a solo artist, and his new "soul punk" tunes seemed too much for even his more mature fans to enjoy. Wentz and his band, Black Cards, "toured" at The Mint but never released an album. And guitarist Joe Trohman and drummer Andy Hurley's new group, The Damned Things, dissolved last year.

Fall Out Boy
Fall Out Boy

Which is why, when the group announced it return the same day it dropped its new single, "My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light 'Em Up)," still-devoted fans rejoiced, propelling the song to number two on the Billboard Hot 100.

The ensuing tour, which saw the band forgo the huge venues it played at the end of its initial run, quickly sold out — including the stop at Marquee Theatre. And FOB's latest album, Save Rock and Roll, boasts guest stars ranging from Big Sean to Courtney Love and Elton John.

The "new" sound isn't too big an evolution from the band's previous disc, Folie à Deux, but on Save Rock and Roll, Fall Out Boy sounds more confident than ever. Lyrics like "We've already won. We are wild. We are like young volcanoes" and "We can take the world back from a heart attack. One maniac at a time, we will take it back" tell the story.

And a recently announced arena tour with labelmates Panic! at the Disco suggests that Fall Out Boy is doing just fine with its stated goals. In a music world increasingly reliant on the sale of singles, Fall Out Boy's long-suffering fans are a rare and precious commodity: They buy the whole album, more than 150,000 copies in the opening week.

Besides the profitable fruits of their labor, getting back with the guys has placed the band members' mindsets in the right place.

Hurley told Rolling Stone he went through the worst depression of his life after the breakup, while Wentz said, "I went through a really, really dark, weak period, and then at the same time I didn't have an outlet to express myself."

The band's fans felt the same way. By its hiatus, Fall Out Boy had become a joke to a lot of music fans, and seemingly an obligation to some of its members, but the fans — the ones who'd followed them through nine years together — were crushed.

Whatever else it's responsible for, Fall Out Boy makes kids happy and helps save some people (including its members) from depression. Guyliner or not, how could you hate on that?

 
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