Friday, November 20, 2009

Believers Never Die - Album Review

Album Review:

Believers Never Die - Fall Out Boy's Greatest Hits

I'll admit, I've not actually gotten this album, I merely have basically ever Fall Out Boy song ever.

So here's the deal. I'm going to go through, track-by-track, and talk about them. Because I'm cool like that. :-)

1. Dead On Arrival
" I know I'm not your favorite record. The songs you grow to like never stick at first."
This is an essential early Fall Out Boy song. It's a song about songs, it's catchy, it's quintessential early-millennial punk rock. First released in 2003, it really set the stage for the band.

2. Grand Theft Autumn/Where Is Your Boy?

Ahh, the band's first music video. This video really shows the band at the beginning of their rise to fame - fun, happy, totally bamf. Sure, they seemed like a rip off of Blink-182, but they clearly have a bit of their own in here too. This is the song that early Fall Out Boy fans think of when they fondly reminisce about the band.

3. Saturday
And I read about the afterlife, but I never really lived more than an hour"
A beautiful, early Fall Out Boy track. When they played this at the concert, the fans went batshit, so clearly this song has stuck in our heads over the years.

4. Sugar, We're Going Down

This is when most of the world noticed Fall Out Boy. I remember seeing this music video at about three in the morning on vh1 and thinking "...I need everything this band has ever made or ever will make." Of course, a couple weeks later, they started playing the video during the day and I wasn't the only new believer. Of course, Pat's slurring vocals spurred a line of spoofs, but we wouldn't have it any other way.

5. Dance, Dance

This video really started Fall Out Boy off, and everyone that didn't hear Sugar, We're Going Down sure as hell heard Dance, Dance. This also spurred Fall Out Boy in a more creative direction with their videos. (My favorite parts are where Pete licks someone's guitar, and tries to kiss Pat. That shit is hot.)

6. A Little Less "Sixteen Candles", a Little More "Touch Me"
I don't blame you for being you, but you can't hate me for hating it."
This song was a bit of a return to their sound from Take this to your Grave, and also had an incredibly creative video. A strong rock anthem, it showed where they came from and where they're going. Also at this point, Fall Out Boy had established themselves enough as musicians that in the video, they introduced us to Panic! at the Disco and Gym Class Heroes.

7. This Ain't a Scene, it's an Arms Race
"All the boys who the dance floor never loved, and all the girls whose lips couldn't move fast enough, Sing - until your lungs give out."
...I'm not gonna lie, I hated this song when I first heard it. It was more heavily produced, more electric guitar-y. It marked a different style of singing from Pat, a new style of writing from Pete,
and a new sound from the band. However, like they predicted in Dead on Arrival, "the songs you grow to like never stick at first." Once I got used to the bands new sound, I definitely liked the track a lot more. It's still probably one of my least favorite tracks on the album, but it was still an amazing album all around.

8. Thnks fr th Mmrs

This is still one of my favorite tracks from the band. It's a lot of fun, but it shows that Fall Out Boy has recognized itself as a ferreal band. There's so much synthesis between them and they're becoming more Fall Out Boy and less Pat + Pete, plus those other guys.

9. The Take Over, the Break's Over
"Don't pretend you ever forgot about me."

I didn't like the track when I first got the CD, but it really grew on me. They used the video as an interesting opportunity to address fans who felt that they'd "sold out", which was really neat. I understood them most at this point in their career. They finally had the money to be in a good studio with good equipment and a label that supported their every endeavor, so now they were making the music they've always wanted to make. As the opening track of the album, Thriller, states, "Fans are won and lost and won again but our hearts beat for the Die Hards."

10. "I'm Like a Lawyer with the Way I'm Always Trying to Get You Off (Me & You)"
"The best way to make it through with hearts and wrists intact is to realize that Two out of Three ain't bad"
A very different sound for the band, the first real ballad-esque song they'd really done and made a single. A fantastic love song that proves once again that Love is so Punk Rock.

11. Beat It (feat. John Mayer)
There's not really too much to say about this track, since it's a cover. It's a good cover though, but I'm not a big Michael Jackson fan, so it only does so much for me.

12. I Don't Care
"I don't care what you think, as long as it's about me"

Not the deepest lyric writing out of Pete, honestly. This is another track that I really didn't care for right off the bat, but it makes a very good first single in the same way that This Ain't A Scene did. It's definitely a toe-tapper with an interesting video, but I think it's probably one of the weakest songs on the entire CD. Once again, that doesn't mean I don't like it, I just think they released it because it's radio-friendly, catchy, and simple - not because it was a piece to be proud of.

13. America's Suitehearts
"Down set one, hut-hut hike! Media Blitz."

I chose those lyrics because they're the most misunderstood lyrics. Otherwise, this is a lyrically weak song. ...actually, in retrospect, this is a lyrically weak album, but I think a lot of that comes from their sudden obsession with politics and celebrities this album, Pete of course forgetting he's become as much tabloid as the rest of Hollywood that he despises so much. While the album has the strongest sound out of all of them, the strength of it seems to be brought on solely by Stump, who writes all of the music. Pete, who writes the lyrics, seems to have really staggered on this album, possibly due to his rise to superstardom, marriage, age, lack of maturity, etc. I followed him on twitter for a while until I realized that he sounds like an idiot. All the maturity on this album clearly comes from Patrick.
I will give them props, however, for featuring Cassadee Pope of Hey Monday fame in the video, just like they've done with so many artists in the past.

14. What a Catch, Donnie

"They say the captain goes down with the ship; So, when the world ends, will God go down with it?"
This is my favorite Fall Out Boy song of all time. Literally, the first time I heard it, I cried. The reprise is a beautiful selection that represents their growth and time together as a band.
The song was originally written for Patrick by Pete Wentz, which just shows the beautiful bromance between Pat and Pete. The video itself features Patrick, and has cameos by people that have helped them and been with them throughout their journey, and the rest of the band minus Pete (the original version had him in for a second, but the green screen effect really bothered them, so they took him out entirely.) It was really beautiful for Pete to release the spotlight like that for Pat. I sing this song while walking around my house all the time, it's bad. I love this song.

15. Alpha Dog
"You're not the first or the last, but you're possibly the prettiest."
Originally appearing on the Citizens for our Betterment mixtape, this track was always a nice track, but I never really thought it was single-worthy. ...I still don't, but then again, Fall Out Boy and I work on different mindsets. It's still a great track though.

16. From Now On, We Are Enemies
I'm not gonna lie, as I'm typing this, I'm listening to this song for the first time... I kind of really, really like it. I guarantee you this will hardly be the last time I listen to this song. I'm not sure why they titled it the way they did, but it's a very good track. Nice and melodic, heavy on vocals and pretty instruments, it's a lot softer and happier sounding than some of their other tracks. It's definitely making me smile.

17. Yule Shoot Your Eyes Out
"Merry Christmas, I could care less."
This is probably my favorite Christmas song, which weird my family out. Whatever. I love it. I actually listen to it basically all year long, it's a very amazing track.

18. Growing Up
"I guess I'm my own better half."
I'm really glad Fall Out Boy chose to finish out the album with this track. It's from the first EP they released, where Patrick Stump actually did all the lyric writing. It's a really good indication of where they wanted to go, and putting it on their Greatest Hits as the final track says "...yep. We did it. We've achieved our dreams - we've Grown Up."

Fall Out Boy has shaped how our music sounds nowadays. It's forced a need for strong vocals, strong writing, strong music, and strong personalities. When they started, they rode on the coattails of the success of bands like Blink-182 and Sum 41, but now bands hope to sound like Fall Out Boy. They heralded in the success of The Academy Is..., Hey Monday, All Time Low, Gym Class Heroes, and many others. They will always be one of our most remembered bands throughout history, and thanks to their gradual rise to fame, they managed to remain stable and way more than just a one-hit wonder.

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