Please excuse the Buzzfeed-esque post title, I was trying to mimic the song title length of this week’s subject lol. I’ve been listening to a lot of pop punk lately and it’s got me thinking about the album that started it all for me, Fall Out Boy’s From Under the Cork Tree.
I got into this album as a kid because my older sister had the CD and would bring it on our many family road trips. This album weirdly reminds me of being bored while visiting some random family member’s ranch near Bakersfield…how pop punk of us, bored and wanting to get out of a small town asap.
Anyway, this album was also the moment that everyone got to know who Fall Out Boy was. Like one second this band was making the rounds in the Chicago music scene and the next people all around the world were singing gibberish trying to follow the chorus of “Sugar, We’re Going Down” at karaoke.
Honestly, it’s not my absolute favorite Fall Out Boy album, but it holds a special place in my heart for being my first introduction to the band and emo/pop punk as a whole. I do hope to do a full musical loves of my life post for them so just know that’s coming at some point.
From Under the Cork Tree instilled an edge to my early pop tastes and an appreciation for iconic emotional poetry of a good emo/pop punk song. This album is also a perfect illustration of the Patrick Stump and Pete Wentz songwriting partnership and how it went on to inspire bands like Panic! At the Disco, All Time Low, and Waterparks.
This album explores a lot of sonic influences from metal to folk to punk to even a hint of swing, all while feeling accessible through Patrick Stump’s powerful voice. Or as drunk Brendon Urie of Panic! At the Disco retelling the Fall Out Boy story said, “a soul voice”. Patrick’s truly one of my favorite vocalists of all time because of the way he plays with dynamics. It’s as if his voice perfectly dances with the driving guitar and drums without getting lost. He’s got a hell of an instrument.
Since he wrote the music in this album, you can hear that he knew how to maximize everyone’s musical abilities, especially his own. Like, if you ask me, his voice just SHINES every chance it gets. An icon honestly.
Pete Wentz, on the other hand, is the mind behind incredible lines like “I set my clocks early ‘cause I know I’m always late.” Which like, same! Lol that’s helped me be less late (until it doesn’t work anymore). Pete is a master at balancing such vivid imagery with fun plays on popular phrases/pop culture references. It feels cheeky and witty and it’s honestly delightful to read and interpret.
Between Patrick’s awe-inspiring voice and melodies and Pete’s witty, thoughtful lyrics, this album (and Fall Out Boy’s discography as a whole) is something to totally go back to and sit in the fact that damn, this is really something special. And you know it’s something special because it led an emo/pop punk revolution and inspired countless bands years and years after.
Now everybody knows the singles, but this whole album is just definite banger after banger that shows Fall Out Boy’s range in this album. I picked a few highlights of some underrated tracks.
Of All The Gin Joints in All the World
This entire song is just too good not to sing along to at the top of your lungs. It’s a perfect marriage of the Patrick Stump/Pete Wentz music magic. It’s a perfect pop punk song if you ask me. You gotta learn it and love it if you don’t already.
Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner
A Dirty Dancing reference? How romantic! It sounds like this song is about some sort of forbidden love, hence the reference. This is another one of their songs where the chorus just goes all the way off. I had no idea what Patrick said at the end of the chorus until I looked it up just now. But damn, “hand behind this pen relives a failure everyday”? Pete, you ok bud? (He wasn’t when he wrote it apparently.)
7 Minutes in Heaven (Atavan Halen)
Pete wrote a banger after being in a super dark place. Like “I keep telling myself I’m not the desperate type”? So do I as I get restless about dating. This song is just totally underrated. I have some production geeking out to do too: the left and right panning in the bridge is honestly a bit of a mind fuck but in the best way. It elevates the catchy little melody from Patrick to a whole ‘nother level. You gotta listen to it in your car at full volume. Fun fact: Brendon Urie of Panic! At the Disco is echoing Patrick in the chorus! Oh man, I’m gonna have to explain my Panic! At the Disco era at some point. FYI it was a TIME.
Sophomore Slump or Comeback of the Year
I distinctly remember my sister telling me this was her favorite song in the album. Which, when you realize my sister was a teenager and this is a self-reflection on being the “therapists pumping through your speakers.” This song is just filled with so many beautifully poetic lyrics and one of favorites is “got a sunset in my veins”. Between how Patrick sings that melody and Pete’s intent with it, sheesh I could cry.
Get Busy Living or Get Busy Dying (Do Your Part to Save the Scene and Stop Going to Shows)
Both Patrick and Pete teeter on screamo/metal on this one and again, it’s not inaccessible if you’re not normally into that kind of music. This is also a prime example of Pete’s iconic spoken word poetry mid-Fall Out Boy song. I love how it bleeds into the next song on the album.