Adolescence or the teen years are probably some of the hardest years of life. They are a constant search, stretching through class rooms, school dances, boyfriends, girlfriends and parents. Its a constant struggle, trying to figure out who the hell you are, who you want to be and where you want to go. It is the first taste of the rest of your life. Childhood ends, you have the world to contend with.
No band was there for that horrific transitional period like Fall Out Boy was. Honest lyrics, raw emotion and the willingness to admit imperfection set them apart from all the other artists we were forced to hear on the radio.
So here's to Pete, Patrick, Joe and Andy, better known as Fall Out Boy.
Here are 10 Fall Out Boy songs that helped define those years, and what they could mean now.
1. Tell That Mick He Just Made My List of Things To Do Today
Possibly the most vengeful song Fall Out Boy ever made really resonated during our teen years. For some reason, every hurtful word, every friendship break, every break-up cut like a knife.
Our teen years were basically an open wound, and rather than pouring salt in it and telling us to suck it up, Fall Out Boy said, "It's okay. We feel it too."
A notion like that isn't easily forgotten, and in us...those angry teenagers...they received devoted, lifetime fans.
Best Lyric: "Let's play this game / called when you catch fire / I wouldn't piss to put you out."
2. Sophomore Slump or Comeback of the Year / From Under The Cork Tree
Everyone has that moment where they're like, "Fuck. Where do I go from here?" It's something that's applicable to a band putting out their second major label release, and it's something that's applicable to a kid going into their sophomore year of high school.
We all fear the day that we realized we've peaked. Whether it was in high school, college, or hasn't happened yet...we're always trying to outdo ourselves. In one way or another, this song spoke to the opportunist in us. That animal part of us that wants to get better, jump higher, run faster...and not burn out.
Growing up in a smaller town myself, it was hard to make my individuality feel right. In a way, I always felt like I had to box myself in, hide away, try to appear ordinary in order to survive. This song helped me realize that, that kind of thing wasn't healthy, or right.
Best Lyric: "Got a sunset in my veins / and I need to take a pill to make this town feel okay."
3. Hum Hallelujah / Infinity on High
Ah young love, it's something that we all experienced to a varying degree. Whether unrequited or full on tragic, this song was there to help us through. To an extent, we were all aware that our relationships had an expiration date. But that didn't make them any less devastating. We'll always hold a place in our hearts for our first loves.
And this song captures that feeling...the distinct notion that love exists...even if only for one night.
Best Lyric: "A teenage vow in a parking lot / till tonight do us part."
4. The Carpal Tunnel of Love / Infinity on High
The gutteral screaming of Pete Wentz is not every fan's favorite, but it's definitely in its best form during The Carpal Tunnel of Love. I remember screaming in the back of my friend's car and just letting loose to this track. I was miserable and stunning. Such are the teenage years.
But more than that, this song addressed love, and how even the happiest of times has to come to an end, and that sometimes in order to move forward we must be willing to change.
Best Lyric: "Get postcards from my former self saying, "How you been?"
5. Disloyal Order of Water Buffalos / Folie A Deux
The opening track of Folie A Deux hit us on the head. From the first words to the last guitar stroke we were like "Yes. Thank you Fall Out Boy, yet again for saying what's on our minds."
For some reason, adolescence fosters falling apart. And the bands or artists that aren't afraid of acknowledging them are the ones we ended up connecting with.
The teenage years consist of a constant need for acceptance, reassurance, and a lack of control. Sometimes we had no other choice than to be sad. It wasn't our fault.
Best Lyric: "I'm falling apart at the seams / pitching myself for leads in other people's dreams."
6. What A Catch Donnie / Folie A Deux
For many of us, the end of Fall Out Boy was inevitable. We were growing up, they were growing up, and everything seemed to be falling apart. "What a Catch Donnie" represents the end of an era. When old Fall Out Boy died and solo projects were born. We knew the hiatus could be permanent so in a way...we tried to move on.
With a lot of our favorite people featured in a beautiful opus at the end, we were sure that FOB was over. Thank God we were wrong.
Best Lyric: "They say the captain goes down with the ship / so when the world ends / will God go down with it?"
7. Saturday / Take This To Your Grave
We all had that one day we looked forward to. When the week was over, school was an afterthought and our friends were the only thing on our minds. Saturday was that day. We lived for the mornings where we could just lay in bed and forget everything. Fall Out Boy captured that feeling in this song. We were all on the cusp of something in high school: greatness, sadness, a downfall or ultimate happiness. We just had to choose which door to walk into.
That's the thing about being young, you still have time to explore all of the possibilities ahead. You can fuck up and learn. It's open ended. The song also captured the feeling we all got while attending concerts:
Best Lyric: "I read about the afterlife but I never really lived more than an hour."
8. Sugar We're Going Down / From Under The Cork Tree
Some of us who were a little late to the game didn't discover Fall Out Boy until we saw their music video on MTV. It's okay though, because once we were introduced, we were hooked. The innocence in the video captured our morbid curiosity and Fall Out Boy was able to change our lives.
Without this song, a lot of us wouldn't be fans, and that's worth mentioning.
Best Lyric: "A loaded God complex / cock it and pull it."
9. Thriller / Infinity on High
Fall Out Boy got its identity down after Infinity on High, and we were all firmly along for the ride. Jay-Z surprised us in the intro, but the sentiment was straight up old school. Long live those of us who aren't perfect, who stray from the norm, who stand up for what we believe in. It doesn't matter if we're a little screwed up or off center. We're valid.
The legendary lyrics of this song have stayed with us to this day. Our unspoken motto.
Fall Out Boy helped us believe in ourselves. The lessons we learned in our teen years didn't come from text books or parent-teacher conferences. They came from the speakers.
Best Lyric: "Long live the car crash hearts / cry on the couch all the poets come to life / fix me in 45."
10. Grand Theft Autumn (Where Is Your Boy) / Take This To Your Grave
"And now please stand for your national anthem!" That's what Pete Wentz says right before this song is played live. And honestly, that's not far from the truth. "Grand Theft Autumn" is the song we scream in the shower, our cars, and our lives. When it comes on, we come alive. Because somewhere deep down, we still believe in that restlessly ideal time in our lives, when our only worries were which concerts to go to, what our friends were doing and if someone from homeroom liked us.
It was a time of innocence, or excess, of emotion. And as we turn our backs on those teenage years, we can remember them through these songs. Through Fall Out Boy, and though they're still around, making great music, hanging out, it'll never be like it was. They've grown up, and so have we, but these songs will never change.
Best Lyric: "You were the last good thing about this part of town."
What's your favorite Fall Out Boy track?
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