Reviews Fall Out Boy From Under the Cork Tree

Fall Out Boy

From Under the Cork Tree

Selling out. Trying something new. Maturing. Call it what you will, but a substantial number of underground artists have become fairly well-known after changing up the musical scene they are involved with. First there was Ian MacKaye leaving behind Minor Threat for Fugazi, and eventually The Evens. Others followed suit. Gorilla Biscuits guitarist Walter Schreifels went from playing in one of the most influential hardcore bands to writing soft indie rock in Rival Schools. Neither of these had much mainstream success, but they were distinct transitions nonetheless.

The ideal example would be when the remaining members of highly influential, but vastly overlooked, hardcore outfit Strongarm teamed up with a nobody by the name of Chris Carrabba to create Further Seems Forever. Similarly, Chad Gilbert left behind his friends in Shai Hulud to be the guitarist for New Found Glory. Fall Out Boy is leading the next wave of ex-hardcore kids making it big in pop music. And with their second full-length, From Under the Cork Tree, the fine fellas from Chicago will reach unimaginable heights.

After my initial listen I was able to come to a couple of conclusions about the new album. First off, the hits on this album are better written than that of its predecessor, Take This to Your Grave. Seriously, the lyrical hooks are even more infectious this time around; I was singing along to the choruses by the second time they came around in several of the songs. The second thing I noticed is that while the hits, prime cuts, jams, whatever you call them, are better, the album as a whole doesn't flow nearly as well. While I am still able to listen to Take This to Your Grave all the way through, I have found myself skipping over a couple of tracks that failed to draw a response out of me, in particular "I've Got a Dark Alley and a Bad Idea that Says You Should Shut Your Mouth (Summer Song)," which I find boring in every sense of the word.

Fortunately the lacking tracks to the album are far outweighed by those that capture my attention. "Dance, Dance" walks the fine line of genre labeling by mixing multiple styles of music not unlike Taking Back Sunday's Tell All Your Friends. If you thought that Fall Out Boy's debut full-length was fairly one-dimensional, then you may actually be impressed with their latest release. This time around Fall Out Boy throw a lot in of different looks - there are straight up pop-punk jams ("Of All The Gin Joints in All the World",) rock-oriented tunes("A Little Less Sixteen Candles, A Little More "Touch Me"",) and even pop-punk/hardcore hybrids ("I Slept With Someone In Fall Out Boy And All I Got Was This Stupid Song Written About Me,") which features guest vocals by Gilbert from New Found Glory.

And even with merger of the varied musical styles, I was not prepared for what I heard on "Get Busy Living or Get Busy Dying (Do Your Part to Save the Scene and Stop Going to Shows)." I may be off my rocker, but I hear influences of A.F.I. in both the structure of the song as well as the vocal stylings use throughout. Either way, I fancy this song quite a bit.

The packaging of the album isn't all that thrilling. The cover contains an image of a van in a snow drift. This is an obvious homage to an accident the band had a couple of years back. The rest of the layout is comprised of the lyrics sprawled out in a classic English novel format and various pictures of the band members. Nothing too flashy or spectacular.

The road for Fall Out Boy is only going to lead onward and upward. The band received marginal success with their debut full-length, but with From Under the Cork Tree the band will no doubt make the leap to mainstream music icon with ease. In other words, move over My Chemical Romance, your fifteen minutes are about up... now!

7.5 / 10Michael
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7.5 / 10

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