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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

In Defense of… Fall-Out Boy

<ng the self-declared liberal arts cognescenti, Fall Out Boy occupies the critical space just above death/Creed and just below taxes/ABBA (though some of you like ABBA ironically, I’ve yet to meet the person who does so for Creed. How about ironically liking death? Yeah, man, death is so goddamn ridiculous). I thought this way too, until I actually paid attention to one of their songs, THNKS Fr TH MMRS, from their newest album. You might think it’s impossible to actually (again, non-ironically) appreciate such a titled song. Don’t let it get in the way--just have to focus, in this case on the chorus, specifically the lines,

Thanks for the memories

Even though they weren’t so great

He tastes like you only sweeter

I’ve added emphasis on the great because at point singer Patrick Stump (the guy who’s not Pete Wentz) slightly shifts the rhythm of his singing in a way that’s positively Dylanesque, eliding weren’t and emphasizing great as if it were the first syllable in the next line. This seems to accent the slightly pregnant pause right before great, shifting the relatively even chorus rhythm into a much choppier one, as Stump then strongly accents he and tastes. It’s one of the catchiest things I’ve ever heard (and takes places at around 37 seconds in, if you’ll deign to listen). If you pay attention, the list of rewarding Fall Out Boy moments is actually pretty extensive– the way the guitar teases us in and out of the chorus in Dance, Dance, or the gospel singers on Hum Hallelujah, for example.

If you can appreciate their music, it’s an easy step to understanding Fall Out Boy as a whole. The band seemed too lame, too white, too annoying, too whiny– in short, too close to home. But why pretend? Accept yourself as a confused nerdy white kid, because most of you are (and for those who aren’t, there’s one lurking inside everyone, so let him/her out) and you can maybe appreciate some extravagant pop music.

It needn’t prevent you from being cool–Jay-Z recorded an introduction to one of their songs (Thriller) and Kanye remixed This Ain’t A Scene It’s an Arms Race. With friends like these, cool comes by association.

And those adjectives (lame, white, annoying) already describe music that a lot of you listen to, music like the disgustingly saccharine Stars or those annoying Decemberists, music that goes by the moniker indie pop but is far more boring than the real thing. Why take indie pop (perhaps the most horrifying term coined yet this century) when you can take the real thing, in all of its glorious excess?

I know, I know, you guys came here to get away from the excesses of modern culture that Fall Out Boy represents. But if you can manage to throw and enjoy a toga party, you can probably manage some middle class white boy whining. So let’s make a deal—I’ll tolerate the odd toga party if you guys give Fall Out Boy another, closer, shot.

Last week I wrote a defense (of sorts) of intelligent design. This week comes another defense, and so following the grand journalistic tradition that two items/events make a trend, this column will henceforth be known as “In Defense Of…” and will each week address things that generally get a raw deal at Carleton. If this sounds like a chance to rant about things I like that other people don’t, it is. Send me an email (kagankad) and maybe I’ll rant about something you think deserves a second chance.

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