Unlikely to be forgotten too soon based on this assemblage of evidence.
Mike Diver 2009-11-30
As fans of Fugazi and many more can attest, there’s nothing worse than when your favourite band announces that they’re going on hiatus. So, Fall Out Boy followers, best get used to not holding your breath for further material from the Illinois-formed pop-savvy emo-punks.
Should the four-piece never reconvene, the release of greatest hits collection Believers Never Die will prove well timed, presenting as it does (some of) the story of Fall Out Boy on a single disc. Running chronologically, we open with Dead On Arrival from second album Take This To Your Grave. It provides two further efforts before things take a turn for the mainstream.
The tracks from Take This to Your Grave owe a degree of debt to the genial emo sounds of The Get Up Kids and Saves the Day, but Sugar, We’re Goin Down marks the arrival of meatier hooks and choppier riffs, with the band’s sound noticeably bolder and their songwriting exhibiting a welcomed maturity. Bolstered by punchy production that confirmed their radio-friendly credentials, the track’s the first to feature from breakthrough album From Under the Cork Tree. Though it received mixed reviews, Fall Out Boy’s third full-length saw them become the chart stars their influences never were – both Sugar… and Dance, Dance were UK top ten hits.
With the band’s chosen formula of bruised lyricism and catchy guitar melodies quite the fashion come the mid-00s – see also: My Chemical Romance’s The Black Parade and Paramore’s All We Know Is Falling – their fourth album Infinity on High topped the Billboard chart and broke into the UK top five. But while lead single This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race showcased an ambition to break the emo mould (and featured a killer line: “the bandwagon’s full, please catch another”), much of what followed slipped into the commercial shadows. Come 2008’s Folie à Deux the hits had stalled to the extent where a workmanlike cover of Michael Jackson’s Beat It was their biggest chart success. A shame, as I Don’t Care is a great fusion of Depeche Mode and Faith No More coated in the purest pop.
If they’re gone for good then Fall Out Boy are unlikely to be forgotten too soon based on this assemblage of evidence – but a more thorough retrospective must surely be waiting in the wings given the amount of material they’ve released beyond these hits and misses.