Writing a “best of” list of Fall Out Boy songs is an impossibility for me. There is no possible way I can separate my emotions and personal connections enough to be objective. Songs inspired by friends, people I love, some I loathe combined with watching that baby take it’s first steps practically imbeds these songs in my head and heart whether I want them there or not.
People can talk all the shit they like now as if this band was a passing phase in their teen years but truth is, these songs had more soul than any music on the radio then or now. This was no “tortured artist” act, anyone close enough will tell you this shit was all real. And in a shitstorm of awful contemporaries they managed to be innovative and genuine, along with untouchable lyrics that blazed past everyone with whom they ever shared a stage. So this isn’t so much as a “best of” list as it is a list of songs of personal importance.
Tell That Mick He Just Made My List Of Things To Do Today.
The beginning of this song still gets me pumped to do stage dives at the Knights of Columbus hall. To this very day, it is impossible for me to sit still even in my own living room listening to this song. This song is the introduction to a revolution. I know the liner notes say this record was written by 4 people but when this record went gold, I always believed there were about 10 more people who deserved credit.
I’ve Got A Dark Alley And A Bad Idea…
After he got out of the hospital Pete showed up at my apartment wearing a jean jacket with no shirt and asked if I wanted to roll up to Woodfield Mall to see the new Clandestine display at Hot Topic. We got in the car and drove west on 290. We passed the lights of the airport when he played the demo for me. There was an odd moment when he was telling me about the lyrics that I don’t share with anyone. There are times when I still choke up listening to this.
This song always felt like the answer to a dare. As if someone said, “Yeah, fucker. I dare you to write a song about it.” The spite and passion in this song coupled with the rage and drive of the music always leave me feeling like I just broke up with someone.
The (After) Life Of The Party
This was a bittersweet record for me. Mid-internet beef, it was difficult for me to appreciate songs written by an enemy but I would have been lying if I said I wasn’t a fan. This song made me fall in love with Patrick’s voice.
Grand Theft Autumn
They were playing some shitty bar in the burbs and after load-in a few of us ran across the street to get Krispy Kremes. Somehow, Pete managed to flirt with the girl behind the counter long enough to get free donuts. There were about 40 kids at the show and it sounded like garbage. Afterward, Patrick wanted to play the demo of this song for me in my car. We listened and after the chorus I said, “It sounds like a Stereo song.” He laughed and said, “Thats what I was going for.” A few weeks later I learned that the song was written about two people that I had lived with.
The Patron Saint Of Liars And Fakes
The first time they played this live was at some shitty bar on Halsted that has since burned down. I think it was an over 21 show so only like 12 people showed up, all friends of course. We pulled up chairs and Patrick said something like, “This is like a practice so we’re just going to play some of the newer songs.” Just all of us in a tiny room the size of my apartment. We all knew those songs would sound better in bigger venues. That was when I realized the music was outgrowing the stage.
What A Catch, Donnie
The first time I heard this song I almost lost it. If you don’t get goosebumps at the end of this song, you weren’t there.
Nobody Puts Baby In The Corner
When I would go on tour with these dickheads and they would play this song, I never wanted to lose that feeling of being a fan, so I would put my hood up and sneak to the back of the crowd and jump around like a 13 year old girl. In my mind I was far too old and “too cool” to be acting such a fool, but that’s just what this song would do to me. I remember being in San Diego and just staring up at the stage while I was flailing about and getting light headed from exhaustion I had some odd moment of clarity. The song ended and I clapped so hard that my hands hurt. I looked at my friends under the lights and I realized I was in a moment. One that I would look back with in time with great fondness. Lungs burning, face smiling, heart pounding - I realized that it was one of the best nights of my life. While everyone else went to play lazer tag, I walked back to the bus with Patrick and watched Purple Rain. Twice.