Deep Album Cuts Vol. 11: Fall Out Boy

Fall Out Boy, the band so constantly self-conscious of their own success and potential failure that they named a song on their major label debut "Sophomore Slump or Comeback of the Year," have in fact now managed probably popular music's biggest comeback of 2013. That is, an actual comeback where they reversed a steep downward commercial trajectory that had plagued them for years, not just 'Justin Timberlake's last thing was really successful and this year he came back and had more success.' And I really didn't see it coming -- Fall Out Boy were last seen in 2008 with the brilliant Folie a Deux, possibly my favorite rock album of the last 5 years, which totally failed to capture the rock fanbase or the crossover pop appeal they commanded at their peak. Now, thanks to a flawlessly executed surprise campaign for a new album after years of hiatus, "My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light 'Em Up)" has returned them to heavy rotation on both pop and rock radio, which I couldn't have remotely expected when I first heard the song a few months ago. So it seemed like a good time to look back on their catalog, which is not exactly huge, but at least has been fruitful enough to already yield a greatest hits compilation that this can serve as a complement to.

Fall Out Boy Deep Album Cuts (Spotify playlist):

1. Sophomore Slump or Comeback of the Year
2. Disloyal Order of Water Buffaloes
3. Chicago Is So Two Years Ago
4. XO
5. Young Volcanoes
6. Golden
7. 7 Minutes in Heaven (Atavan Halen)
8. (Coffee's For Closers)
9. The (After) Life of the Party
10. The (Shipped) Gold Standard
11. w.a.m.s.
12. Just One Yesterday featuring Foxes
13. It's Not a Side Effect of the Cocaine, I Am Thinking It Must Be Love
14. Nobody Puts Baby in the Corner
15. Homesick At Space Camp
16. I Slept With Someone In Fall Out Boy And All I Got Was This Stupid Song Written about Me
17. Rat A Tat featuring Courtney Love
18. Tiffany Blews featuring Lil Wayne
19. Save Rock And Roll featuring Elton John
20. I've Got All This Ringing in My Ears and None on My Fingers
21. Hum Hallelujah

Tracks 3 and 15 from Take This To Your Grave (2003)
Tracks 13 from My Heart Will Always Be The B-Side To My Tongue (2004)
Tracks 1, 4, 7, 14 and 16 from From Under The Cork Tree (2005)
Tracks 6, 9, 20 and 21 from Infinity On High (2007)
Tracks 2, 8, 10, 11 and 18 from Folie a Deux (2008)
Tracks 5, 12, 17 and 19 from Save Rock And Roll (2013)

I actually don't consider Fall Out Boy that great a singles act -- I'd only really rate "Dance, Dance" and "Thnks Fr Th Mmrs" out of their big hits as being among their best songs, although most of the hits are at least decent and catchy, and there are some really good misses as well. So this represents the bulk of my favorite Fall Out Boy songs, and it was fun to try to organize all their huge leaps in sound and ambition into something somewhat cohesive, or perhaps more deliberately all-over-the-place than any one of their albums.

There's a lot of straight-ahead punk pop, albeit with uncommonly wordy verses and uncommonly powerful singing, But there's also piano ballads, horn-driven pop songs, drum machine-assisted dance beats and hip-hop crossovers, brazen classic rock, and uncategorizable weirdness. For such a careerist band, they've really managed to be pretty unpredictable. I could easily have slotted a few songs from Patrick Stump's ill-fated solo album Soul Punk, which I love about as much as any of the band's albums, on here, but I didn't want to shoehorn that into something that I think really celebrates the unique chemistry that this particularly quartet ended up with.

I liked being able to put their collaborations with Courtney Love, Lil Wayne and Elton John all together because they're surely the only band in the world that would even think to work with those 3 people, let alone use them so well in their own songs (never mind collaborations with Jay-Z and Elvis Costello, which similarly demonstrate the range of Fall Out Boy's taste, although in those instances the stunt casting didn't work as well for me).

Previous playlists in the Deep Album Cuts series:
Vol. 1: Brandy
Vol. 2: Whitney Houston
Vol. 3: Madonna
Vol. 4: My Chemical Romance
Vol. 5: Brad Paisley
Vol. 6: George Jones
Vol. 7: The Doors
Vol. 8: Jay-Z
Vol. 9: Robin Thicke
Vol. 10: R. Kelly
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