Here Is Your Stirring Defense Of The New Fall Out Boy Record Because This Thing Is Awesome

This record is already making people soooo mad, and it just came out today. How dare Fall Out Boy make what is essentially a demo-tape-sounding punk rock record? They’re ginormous stars! They usually have big arrangements! They’re so…showy.

Oh, do shut up. It isn’t 1981, and you’re not 14, you didn’t just go out and buy Minor Threat’s “Minor Threat” EP on vinyl. Likely you’re getting a little long in the tooth too, but it doesn’t mean you don’t want to just hurtle through a bunch of songs at breakneck speed sometimes. I played the entire Minor Threat discography record three times in a row earlier today, and I’m only a few years younger than Ian MacKaye. FOB lead singer Patrick Stumpf is 29, and the producer of the record, Ryan Adams is 38, and both are theoretically too old and too famous to have made this record and who cares because it is great.


[Don’t be scared of the playlists. Click through on whichever you please and you’ll be redirected to the streaming site and it will play you music. Yay!]

Fall Out Boy recorded the EP with the legendary punk/country/rock/you name it Adams at his PAX-AM studios over two days. It is no secret that Adams is a huge hardcore punk fan. He’s got his own punk band, Pornography, doing their thing right now. Before that, he was in another punk band, The Finger, with Jesse Malin, and before that he was in ANOTHER punk band, Patty Duke Syndrome, before he became an alt-country god. Why does all of this matter? Because if Ryan Adams wants to produce a punk rock record, he gets to produce a punk rock record. He’s put in his time in the trenches, and he’s got an unabashed love for the music and it comes roaring through in how he produces Fall Out Boy.

The whole EP – 8 songs – clocks in at under 15 minutes. I listened to it 5 times in a row and felt more exhilarated each time. My streaming music service is set up so it starts the next record in a discography when another one finishes, so it kept sending me over to the FOB release from earlier this year, “Fall Out Boy Save Rock And Roll,” and oh, how different it is. That record is clean production, glossy surfaces, layers of instruments. This record, in contrast, is all analog rough edges.

The lead single isn’t the best song on the record (but it is still great to listen to, dammit) as Adams doesn’t fully control Stumpf’s tendency to go all operatic, which doesn’t fit with the music as well. However, musically it has that great feature of well-produced punk: it hangs together well while ultimately giving you the sense it might fall apart at any time.

Also, that LOVE! SEX! DEATH! chant will inexorably make you think of the Godfathers’ “Birth, School, Work, Death” (which is no bad thing). Seriously, just try and stop yourself.

Songs where Adams buries Stumpf’s voice in the mix more – like “American Made” or “We Were Doomed from the Start” could be on a record made 30 years ago, and you wouldn’t know who sang it but you would have tried to find out so you could buy the 7-inch.

Is this record going to displace your copy of “My War” or or “Bedtime for Democracy?” Nope, and it isn’t intended to. It’s a lark, and it is OK that it is a lark. It’s a bunch of rich dudes doing a thing because they can, and why be rich famous dudes if you can’t do that sometimes? It’s a fun record, and it sounds like it was fun to record, and it is fun to listen to. That’s the beginning and the end of it. No meta message. No need to overanalyze whether a band like Fall Out Boy “gets to” record a punk record. Anyone that wants to gets to – that’s kind of the point. You don’t get excluded from having some kickass DIY fun just because you got famous.


All possible stars or thumbs up or whatever to this record. Much better than Cats! Would listen again!

Oh, and yes, the cover is indeed John McEnroe throwing a temper tantrum and breaking his racket. So there.

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