A new Fall Out Boy album is coming out in 2023! This is not a drill! We're so excited to hear more hits from the pop-punk/emo band. At the time of publication, the group has been creating mysterious websites, post cards, and a short film all to promote their upcoming eighth studio album.
While we wait for more Fall Out Boy tunes, we figured we'd create a Top 10 list of the group's best songs in the meantime. Formed in an Illinois suburb in 2001, Fall Out Boy's first public performance actually happened at a DePaul University cafeteria, and was said to be "goofy" and "bad." Fortunately, Joe Trohman and Pete Wentz were determined to make the band work, and picked up new members for practice. After releasing their successful debut album Take This to Your Grave and their more successful sophomore record From Under the Cork Tree, the band got signed to Fueled By Ramen and became a fixture for emo kids everywhere.
Since they made a big splash in the early 2000s, the band has adapted their sound to fit current times. But they still play that party-hard, angsty, and edgy rock sound they're beloved for. Below are the 10 Fall Out Boy tunes we think have aged the best. We hope it's "more than you bargained for yet!"
"Centuries" was released as the lead single from from Fall Out Boy’s sixth studio album. It's a song all about legacy, and just like the human struggle to be remembered for years after your death, it's extremely grandiose. Maybe the most grandiose track Fall Out Boy has ever dropped. While its sound and style doesn't fit in with Fall Out Boy's typical punk formula, it's still a fun bop with intense vocals and build-up. Like the music video inspired by the Roman Colosseum, this one is made for stadium fan-fare.
In an old interview, Pete Wentz explained about the song, "Our band came from the suburbs of Chicago. The blandest place. Nothing comes out of there, no one would have ever said that a rock band would come out of there and go on to play arenas. ‘Centuries’ goes back to that David versus Goliath idea. Even U2 had to start somewhere...Change terrifies a lot of us. ‘Centuries’ really bangs on that. It’s like, just because you’re being told that what you’re doing sucks, that you’re weird or whatever, that doesn’t mean that you’re not a leader, creating something new. Leaders attract a lot of arrows, you know?"
9. "I Don't Care"
Second up is the lead single from 2008's Folie À Deux. Described by Pete Wentz as a “narcissist’s anthem” for the digital generation while also continuing commentary on the pros and cons of fame. Although Folie a Deux struggled commercially as a whole, “I Don’t Care” proved to be the most memorable song and was met with moderate success. It peaked at #21 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was eventually certified Platinum by the RIAA for 1 million copies sold.
"I Don't Care" is just a rockin' good time, period. The mega-chorus is super catchy, the beat is steady, and Joe Trohman's brief guitar solo feels like magic. It's a sweet jam, but still stone-cold rock n' roll. And let's not forget about its awesome feature in the Harmonix video game Rock Band. Oh, and the lyric, "eyeliner, energy drinks, no guitar solos," is one of the most early 2000s lines we've ever heard.
8. "The Phoenix"
The triumphant opener of Save Rock and Roll. The brisk and rolling London Symphony Orchestra introduction of "The Phoenix" invites listeners to pay attention to the song's slick lyrics and inspiring message. It's hopeful, it's ambitious, and it feels like an anthem to Fall Out Boy's long-awaited return.
"Hey young blood, doesn't it feel like our time is running out?" Patrick Stump asks either the band's earlier selves or the wave of imitators who followed in Fall Out Boy's wake. "I'm gonna change you like a remix / Then I'll raise you like a phoenix," he quips. For this tune, the band left longtime producer Neal Avron for Butch Walker, who co-produced the Infinity On High banger "Don't You Know Who I Think I Am?" Many fans interpret the song to be the band’s statement regarding the end of their hiatus: they started it because they felt “burnt out,” but now they rise out of their ashes like a phoenix. Just like this song's theme, "The Phoenix" managed to become an incredible comeback for Fall Out Boy.
7. "Grand Theft Autumn / Where Is Your Boy"
The biggest hit off Fall Out Boy's debut LP was undoubtedly "Grand Theft Autumn / Where Is Your Boy." It starts out with an a cappella version of the chorus before the band kicks in at a quick pace. The speaker of the song questions the choices of someone that he cares for – namely that they are picking another dude over him.
Yes, "Grand Theft Autumn / Where Is Your Boy" has all the emo cliches – longing for a girl you'll never have, hating your hometown, quippy wordplay, and bucketfuls of angst, just to name a few things. But that's what makes it so lovable all these years later. Patrick's varied vocals on this still hold up, and the guitars and drum beats in the instrumental are perfectly layered. It has a great mix of loud and quiet moments, making the track all the more pensive.
6. "My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up)"
As soon as Fall Out Boy returned from their four year hiatus, no time was wasted and we got the release of this massive single. It combines the playfulness and angsty attitude of their earlier work (the song was originally a demo for From Under the Cork Tree) with high production value and waves of woah-oh’s tailor-made for stadium cheering. This song felt like the introduction of the new Fall Out Boy.
"My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up)" comes from the group's fifth album, Save Rock and Roll. Like "The Phoenix" it's all about starting fresh with plenty of fiery metaphors in the mix. The pre-chorus line "My songs know what you did in the dark" is Fall Out Boy's way of telling fans that they know about all the fun and mischief their groupies have had with their older songs. But now that time has passed and everyone's matured, the moment has come to shed the old and embrace the new. This song proved to be a huge radio hit, and was truly "on fire" in terms of its popularity upon release.
5. "Uma Thurman"
You can't help but shuffle your feet like Mia Wallace in Pulp Fiction while listening to this banger! With the surf rock influences and hefty horn blares present in that sample from The Munsters – as well as Patrick Stump's electric vocals and those sultry lyrics – this song truly moves mountains and works miracles.
An underrated thumper from American Beauty / American Psycho, "Uma Thurman" not only references Thurman's two biggest movies (Kill Bill and Pulp Fiction), but also feels like a sense of freewheeling momentum. It's got hip-hop swagger and a dynamite factor that makes any listener feel like an action movie star. The kooky music video follows a fan named Sarah who wins a contest to be the band's personal assistant for 24 hours. She walks a zebra, plays paintball, and works out with the band. It features cameos from performers like Big Sean, Brendon Urie, Action Bronson, Big Data, and MAX. Uma herself reportedly thought the track was “cute.”
4. "This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race"
We all know the "big 4" of the early 2000s emo scene was My Chemical Romance, Panic! At The Disco, Paramore, and our beloved Fall Out Boy. "This Ain't A Scene, It's An Arms Race" finds the boys reckoning on the madness of that explosion and the increasingly-competitive nature of a once-familial music scene. It's a jam that was very ahead of its time, and is told over the ebb and flow of one of their most powerful beats.
On “This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race,” Wentz uses wartime-inspired metaphors to discuss the band’s newfound popularity. His inspiration for the “arms-dealer” metaphor came from the movie Lord of War. The song has also been interpreted to be about artists making music just for the money and fame, an “arms race,” instead of music for the fun of it.
The band considered other songs on the album to be more “radio-friendly,” but chose to release “This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arm’s Race” first because it “had the right message.” Fortunately, fans ate it up. The song topped the now-defunct Billboard Pop Songs chart, peaked at #2 on the Hot 100 and eventually was certified Platinum by the RIAA. On top of this massive domestic success, it was an international hit. If the pop punk world of the early 2000s truly was an arms race, this song proved Fall Out Boy was on top.
3. "Thnks fr th Mmrs"
So maybe this tune has a vowel-deficient title made out in the style of a throwaway text message...but maybe that's the point. "Thnks fr th Mmrs" is all about a relationship where the true romance has faded away to leave only the appeal of casual sex. It's got tight lyrics, possibly the best vocals Patrick Stump has put in a song, an entire orchestra, a mandolin bit, and even the possibility the narrative of this song takes place on a digital platform thanks to the line, "Who does he think he is?" If that's the worst you've got / Better put your fingers back to the keys..."
The third single from their third album, Infinity on High, "Thnks fr th Mmrs" was one of two songs for the record produced by Babyface. The track went on to be one of Fall Out Boy's bigger hits at the time, peaking at #11 on the Hot 100 (interestingly enough, it peaked on the date 7/7/2007). Almost as notable as the song was its music video, which featured both dangerous chimpanzees and Kim Kardashian. Weird combo, but it worked. The video also touched on the absurdity of fame that the newly-popular band was faced with, which itself was one of the larger themes of Infinity on High.
On this song, Pete Wentz told Genius it was Fall Out Boy's "first major label record that kind of broke in pop culture." And broke in pop culture it did, as it reached #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 and became the band's highest charting and most popular single in Australia at #3 on the ARIA charts. It was certified 2x platinum in 2009.
2. "Dance, Dance"
This bop dials back the heartwrought emo and jams in some massive pop hooks (Patrick Stump identified David Bowie’s "Modern Love" as a key influence), to create a stomping smash hit. "Dance, Dance" details a jaded teenager’s obsession with a particular girl. Not only is he critical of her choices, he's also secretly desperate to sleep with her. It follows his obsession from his awkward initial attraction to a chance meeting with her at a dance wherein he presumably gets to move with her. But as the chorus suggests, it's not all peaches and cream, as the two kids "fall apart to half-time."
For a song from the perspective of a punk teen boy, "Dance, Dance" has an awful lot of maturity to it. It has a certain quality the band would grow and develop in later albums. From its throbbing main riff to that exhilarating chorus, it remains just as exciting, rebellious, and well...danceable 16 years on as it did during its initial release. And let's not forget about that John Hughes-esque music video that makes us feel like a cringy young adult all over again! Ah, good times.
This was the second From Under the Cork Tree song to become a major success (it hit #9 on the Hot 100 and became Fall Out Boy’s second top ten). Their first hit off the sophomore album is our #1 pick...
1. "Sugar, We're Goin Down"
This tongue-in-cheek song has the iconography, the sales, the headbanging-worthy music production, and the impact in pop punk music to be the clear #1 winner of our list. "Sugar, We're Goin Down" was released at a time when all eyes were on Fall Out Boy. They had just accumulated a strong fanbase after Take This to Your Grave, and needed another hit to hold their place in alternative rock history. "Sugar, We're Goin Down" was the song that not only made sure they kept their title as "the next big thing," but also allowed them to be introduced to a new demographic of rock fans.
Despite initial label concerns the wordy and edgy chorus "We're going down, down in an earlier round / And Sugar, we're going down swinging / I'll be your number one with a bullet / A loaded god complex, cock it and pull it" wouldn't make for a good promo, the song peaked at #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2005, and stayed on the chart for a whopping 42 weeks! It also managed to be certified 4x platinum in America in 2013.
With spring-loaded guitar riffs and seethingly poetic lyrics that appeal to any heartbroken kid, the release of "Sugar, We're Goin Down" was more than we bargained for, indeed. It's on top not because it's the band's most popular song, but because it is everything Pete, Pat, Andy and Joe stand for: intelligent lyrics with fiery music that's catchy as hell.
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