Frankie - Fall Out Boy: Folie á Deux
It seems like everyone has a clear and distinct opinion on their favorite Fall Out Boy album, and it can often be seen as a generational shift; my favorite being “Take This to Your Grave,” other people my age (emo’s-turned-adults) often quoting “From Under the Cork Tree,” and younger fans, like my cousin, leaning more towards “American Beauty/American Psycho” (which I have never listened to in it’s entirety). Fall Out Boy’s fourth studio album, however, is where most fans, new and old, come to clash over which era of the band was better, and whether the album was even considered “good.” I will make a definite claim before you right now: I think Folie á Deux was Fall Out Boy’s last good album, and anything after that is an entirely different band. I respect that people age and change, and I am aware that the entire band went through their darkest phases during the writing and release of the album in question, and the following hiatus wasn’t much better for any of them, but I have always felt that Folie á Deux was a part of me growing up as well, because I don’t think I listened to music the same way ever again after it’s release.
First of all, post-Folie á Deux Fall Out Boy no longer uses the silly, over-the-top song titles that have nothing to do with the songs; examples include the album opener “Disloyal Order of Water Buffaloes.” What does that even mean? I have no idea but I love the song and the second I dropped the needle on this album for the first time I realized I remembered every word. I guess I’ve always been kind of a purist that listens to album all the way through, even when it was all CD’s and MP3 players, so I’ll always kind of know the beginnings of albums better than the ends, how odd.
My next argument for why Folie á Deux is their last good album is that “What A Catch, Donnie” is the definition of a swan song, and SHOULD HAVE BEEN THE LAST SONG THE BAND EVER PLAYED AT THE LAST SHOW THEY EVER PLAYED AND ALL THEIR FRIENDS WOULD COME OUT ON STAGE FOR THEIR RESPECTIVE PARTS AND FALL OUT BOY WOULD BE NO MORE. Sorry, had to get that off my chest. But seriously, there isn’t a better song that comes to mind that better defines the end of an era than the huge ballad that is “What a Catch, Donnie.” The song (and music video) features cameos by some of the bands closest friends and collaborators singing defining lyrics from all of the previous Fall Out Boy albums (the music video even literally dredges up old props from previous videos as well.) To kick it off, Elvis Costello sings a line from another song off the album “Headfirst Slide Into Cooperstown on a Bad Bet,” followed by a round of chorus’ including Cobra Starship’s Gabe Saporta with a line from “Grand Theft Autumn/Where Is Your Boy,” Gym Class Heroes’ Travie McCoy singing the chorus of “Sugar We’re Goin Down,” Panic! at the Disco’s Brendan Urie with a falsetto chorus from “Dance, Dance,” Doug Neumann of Crush Management, the company that manages Fall Out Boy, with a jazzed up rendition of the chorus from “This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race,” The Cab’s Alex DeLeon and the chorus of “Thnks fr th Mmrs,” and finally, The Academy Is…’s William Beckett with a chorus from “Growing Up,” a final callback to the bands humble beginnings and their second EP “Fall Out Boy’s Evening Out With Your Girlfriend.” Now just imagine all those artists filing out on stage at the end of Fall Out Boy’s last show ever to sing all those lines we grew up screaming and then the stage goes dark and Fall Out Boy is done forever… But of course that’s not how any of this happened so I will continue to sulk about it for probably the rest of my life.
Like I said previously, this is not my favorite Fall Out Boy album, it’s just the first one I’ve owned, and I will only be collecting the earlier ones from here. I picked up my copy recently at Magnolia Thunderpussy here in Columbus and it’s pressed on red and yellow translucent vinyl, which is very cool! It also came with a huge poster depicting the album artwork of the boy in the bear suit carrying the bear on his back that I plan to frame and hang up and a memento to my youth.
Michael - Pixies: Wave of Mutilation: Best of Pixies
If I could use two words to describe the Pixies it would be "high strangeness". They have a sound that is unlike any other band out there both vocally and musically. The band originated in Boston, Massachusetts (though one of their key members Kim Deal hails from Dayton, Ohio). They were originally active from 1986-1993 before reuniting in 2004. Kim Deal would leave the group in 2013 (after years of success with side project The Breeders and her solo career). Pixies have enjoyed great success since reuniting and in recent years have played the large venue circuit co-headlining tours with acts like Weezer.
So what makes the Pixies so special? First, let's talk about Black Francis' guitar playing. Part punk rock, part surf rock all overdrive he has a signature sound that is hard to miss and boy does it pop off an album. Next, there's Kim Deal's bass (my first instrument I learned and loved). It is so prominent and absolutely essential to the sound, if you don't have Kim Deal among your top bassists, we need to talk. Then there's the vocals that Francis and Deal share. Francis' vocal styles whether he is more harmonic, screaming, or harmonizing with Deal are top notch. Deal has a signature vocal style that has often been imitated but never recreated and as I said when her and Francis harmonize, it's special. It's also great when they play off one another. I also just want to add quickly, Pixies are absolutely amazing live and put on one of the best shows I've ever seen.
If your Pixies experience is limited to "Where is My Mind?" at the end of Fight Club you need to expand your musical horizons my friend. There's so much more, like"Debaser", "Gigantic", "Here Comes Your Man", and "Greens and Blues" just to name a few. I don't resent "Where is My Mind?" like I do Nada Surf's "Popular", but it is a shame more younger musical fans haven't tuned into what the Pixies have to offer. This greatest hits collection is a decent place to get a good sampling of the Pixies sound. So go "Into the White" like a "Monkey Gone to Heaven" and do your homework and listen up on some Pixies this weekend if your not familiar.