What is it about Fall Out Boy that makes everyone pick up arms and march off to war?
With all the Internet shit-talking you’d think they were the anti-Christ (or the return of Christ, depending on your particular belief), but they’re not. They’re a pop-punk band from Chicago. And for those expecting anything else out of the boys, you’re looking too closely at their music.
With that in mind, let’s take away the context. Viewed on its own, solely as a CD, From Under The Cork Tree is a fun listen, much like their last FBR/Island/whomever effort Take This To Your Grave.
There’s always been a little more to their lyrics than “I love you” or “I don’t love you, choke and die.” Their critics would argue not much more, and their devoted fanbase would argue much more. I’m skeptical here and am more inclined to be on the side of their critics.
Tracks like “Of All the Gin Joints in the World,” “Dance, Dance,” and “Our Lawyer…” will bore into your brain like a diamond-tipped drill after just one listen, and are some of the best songs Fall Out Boy has ever put to CD, but others badly ape pop-punk stereotypes a lot like (you guessed it) their last CD. The band hasn’t changed dramatically since Take This To Your Grave, and again, it doesn’t take a genius to see that coming.
Musically, the band isn't doing anything drastically different, but did anyone really expect them to? It’s still pop-punk which you’ve heard before countless times, and it's still a catchy if slightly ridiculous release. Few groups give a blood-pumping, scornful diatribe against a formerly loved one like the band does here, and arguments that Fall Out Boy is vapid and done before are applicable, but you’re not buying this to hear something new, and you know it.
There’s an audience for this, and those listening to Spazz or Refused looking in From Under The Cork Tree for anything but a smile and a good time will miss the point. As for their intended audience, it should be noted that From Under The Cork Tree isn’t the Second Coming.
Put down the pitchforks, put down the torches, and give it a listen.