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Fall Out Boy Returns to "Save Rock and Roll," But Is It Too Late?

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For the excitable Generation Y character in all of us 20-somethings: Fall Out Boy has returned. With their 2005 mega-album From Under the Cork Tree, the Chicago-based four-piece put a poetically self-aware spin on the theme of pop-punk. They laced the album with ironic and lengthy song titles, true pop hooks and melodies, and it was with From Under the Cork Tree that Fall Out Boy worked its way into the collective hearts of the after-school MTV crowd by appealing to suburban angst while still being funny and self-deprecating about it.

With 2007's platinum-selling Infinity on High, the overall grandiosity of From Under the Cork Tree was elevated. When you've got Jay-Z calling you into the staccato breakdown of your album's opening track, as he did on Infinity on High's "Thriller," listeners could truly say that Fall Out Boy had hit their stride. Vocalist Patrick Stump utilized his full and impressive vocal range, even leaning toward theatrics on the piano-driven "Golden," and working with R&B producer/singer Babyface on two of the tracks.

2008's gold-certified Folie á Deux sold well, but ultimately wasn't much like its predecessors. With a faux Sarah Palin cameo in the video for "I Don't Care" and an Auto-Tuned Lil Wayne spot on "Tiffany Blews," it felt like a record that was trying to be a snapshot of the time-frame that it was released in rather than a perennially relatable work like From Under the Cork Tree. A "best of" record was released, and in 2009, the inevitable happened: Fall Out Boy went on an indefinite hiatus.

Stump dropped weight and embarked on a pseudo-R&B singer-songwriter solo act; bassist and tabloid fodder Pete Wentz started then failed in the atrocious Black Cards; and guitarist Joe Trohman and drummer Andy Hurley joined forces with members of Anthrax and Every Time I Die to form the heavy, underrated The Damned Things.

Things were supposed to remain quiet on the Fall Out Boy front. Their theatrical routine and massive song structures served a purpose and appeased the Warped Tour crowd, but failed to grow with their listeners as pop-punk gave way to the wave of indie that was more suitable to Urban Outfitters and Starbucks outings as Fall Out Boy's demographic began to graduate from high school.

But on February 4, the members of Fall Out Boy reunited, releasing a laughably dramatic single titled "My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light 'Em Up)" and a subsequently ridiculous video for the song, consisting only of 2 Chainz setting musical instruments ablaze. The band also announced their new album, ironically titled Save Rock and Roll, on May 6.

If the overstuffed single, featuring Stump doing his best Axl Rose impression mid-chorus, is any indication of what's to come, then Fall Out Boy should have remained on that indefinite hiatus. 2 Chainz's leather-clad cameo in the "My Songs..." video reeks of that flash-in-the-pan Lil Wayne appearance, promising even more cringeworthy decisions by a band that peaked eight years ago and is grasping at relevance now.

Pop punk doesn't seem to evolve with its listeners' tastes well. blink-182 may be the only exception to this rule, as their juvenile wonderment and eternal bitterness transcends generations, but Fall Out Boy are a decisive product of the MTV generation, lauded by the same kids that watched the Pussycat Dolls and the Black Eyed Peas battle "Sugar We're Going Down" for the number-one spot on TRL.

And while diehard fans may always be excited for a band's comeback, Fall Out Boy may prove to be too late to the party. Based on the lack of interest in the band's post-breakup side projects, even down to that decrease of interest in Folie á Deux, it seems that the band may alienate their old standbys by misjudging the relevancy of their image and their sound. Is pop-punk dead? No. blink proves that idea wrong. But if blink-182 is the prime definition of long lasting punk in this day and age, then it sure is lonely at the top -- and Fall Out Boy is nowhere near that ageless pinnacle.

See also:

-blink-182's Mark Hoppus on the Reunion, Neighborhoods, and Still Having Fun -Cold Cave's Wesley Eisold Talks Dance Music, His Hardcore Past and That Fall Out Boy Lawsuit -Fall Frenzy: Tight Pants And Teenaged Angst; Why The Fall Out Boys Are Ruining America -Live Review: Patrick Stump @ Martini Ranch


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