Pre-hiatus Fall Out Boy speaks to the trials of being young. It’s something terrible and relatable and the key to the band’s early success. It’s something everyone can lock on to.
From Under The Cork Tree is raw talent, anger, sadness; it’s taking what the world throws at you and spitting back in it’s face because you’re just kids who’ve been dealt a bad hand. It makes you miss the good ol’ days back of Take This To Your Grave in Chicago when life wasn’t that hard and your biggest problems were teen angst and shitty girlfriends. It hurts, but this time you can still have hope. Even if it’s just a little hope, like maybe not everyone in this world is bad and you can still save some good. Infinity on High starts to deal with darker stuff. The night is full of stars but you’re spinning so fast you can’t really find their light. This is the part where the party rages on until it ends, until you’re left alone. It all starts eating you up but you brush it off, thinking you can run away from it, telling yourself that this doesn’t have to be this big thing, but deep down… you know it is. You start to realize the heaviness in your heart won’t go away, and you’re desperately looking for a way out. Folie À Deux is one last call for hope, and when hope’s absent, when it doesn’t respond when you call its name over and over, begging and screaming for it to show up and it doesn’t, that’s when it’s all over. Folie is a metaphor for the hiatus that was to come, because it’s all building up, rising to the top of your head until you crash. You hate yourself. You’re stuck thinking about your whole life and your childhood, the hopes and dreams everyone had for you, the hopes you had for yourself… they didn’t make it, and no one cares. You’re a disappointment. You’ve fought this for so long you feel broken. You’ve cracked but you have a bitter sarcasm and a sharp tongue. You can’t figure out who you are or what you’re doing with your life. Do you want to resign yourself to this and try to love your own sins? It’s impossible. You realize you’re so far gone, so full of anger and self hate and just…. Sadness. You need to fix yourself but you don’t know how. At least you have time.
Post-hiatus Fall Out Boy is Save Rock & Roll. A comeback, a fighting spirit, a revitalized sense of being that says “Hell yeah! I’m still young and the bad stuff’s behind me. We can do this!”. It’s believing that you’ve worked out all your problems and even have some decent songs to prove it. It’s feeling good and the closest thing to happiness you can remember. American Beauty/American Psycho is coming down from the high. It’s not too rough, but it’s becoming aware of your own mortality and dealing with those issues you thought were gone. Sometimes you deal with them through bittersweet nostalgia, sometimes you just deal with them in straight anger. You’re getting older, but you still have a young fire in your soul.
All of this will come crashing together soon. This has just been one massive pre-game spanning the course of six albums and one and a half decades. This is the build-up for MANIA. It's here.