Fall Out Boy is one of the most polarizing groups in music today. Their fans are cultishly devoted and their enemies even more so. Me personally, I think they’re pretty OK. While they do have plenty of ups and downs, I really don’t care enough to feel strongly about them, and I’ve liked more than a few of their songs. In fact, here’s roughly ten of those songs I like, conveniently ranked for your reading satisfaction.
10. WHAT A CATCH, DONNIE
We kick off our list with this heartfelt ballad off what is arguably (spoiler: it is) Fall Out Boy’s best album, Folie a Deux. What starts with Fall Out Boy’s standard self-deprecating, overwritten lyrics takes a turn for the interesting when the guests start coming in. Yes, that’s guests, plural. The song features Elvis Costello, Gabe Saporta, Travie McCoy, Brendon Urie, Doug Does, Alex DeLeon, and William Beckett performing an eclectic mix of the band’s greatest hits. On an album full of ambitious songs, this one stuck out, and it’s just crazy enough to work.
9. 20 DOLLAR NOSE BLEED
Yes, we’re back on Folie a Deux, after all this time. This is a song I can only describe as “jaunty”. The piano/trumpet riff? Jaunty. The askew vocals? Jaunty. But I like jaunty. Both the word and the thing it describes. Even with the genius.com annotations, I have no idea what this song is about. Jack Kerouac, I think? But that’s the case with a lot of Fall Out Boy songs, and this one’s got something the other ones don’t: jaunt.
8. MISS MISSING YOU
For a long time, FOB and their fans denied their reputation as a pop group. At this point, they’ve pretty much owned up to it, and on songs like “Miss Missing You”, off their big comeback album Save Rock and Roll, it works out pretty well. The song has a sort of dreampop vibe to it, which is fitting because it was originally supposed to be on Patrick Stump’s solo album Soul Punk. In it, Stump plays someone whose ex-lover misses him, and he tries to comfort them even though he doesn’t miss them too. Admittedly not much of a premise, but it works.
7. THNKS FR TH MMRS
“Thnks fr th Mmrs” is one of Fall Out Boy’s biggest hits, and with good reason. It has an irresistible hook, some pretty clever wordplay, and one of the most fascinating titles in FOB’s catalog (people wanted them to make their song titles shorter, so they took out the vowels). Honestly, most of the songs on this list are here for their composition and catchiness rather than their subject matter, so I’m pretty much bullshitting these paragraphs to fill up space.
6. GET BUSY LIVING OR GET BUSY DYING (DO YOUR PART TO SAVE THE SCENE AND STOP GOING TO SHOWS)
This song’s menacing tune hits you like a bus the moment you press “play”. While it doesn’t have a full orchestra like some other songs on this list, it manages to convey a lot of power with just the four band members. There’s something I find really funny about the lyric “Your secret’s out, and the best part is it isn’t even a good one”. The whole song is that same Yeezus-y, triumphant feeling of rage. And it’s actually really catchy, believe it or not.
5. YOU’RE CRASHING BUT YOU’RE NO WAVE
I actually like this song for a totally different reason than the other ones on the list. It doesn’t have the best instrumentation or the catchiest hook or the funniest one-liners. But I like it for the story. It tells the story of a court case, partly based on that of Fred Hampton Jr. The imagery in it is a lot better than one would expect from FOB. You really get a sense for what the wealthy DA is experiencing as he glides through a case that’s already been decided by greed and showmanship. It’s probably not a song that I’d listen to for fun, but I definitely appreciate it.
4. HEADFIRST SLIDE INTO COOPERSTOWN ON A BAD BET
This track really conveys a good ’80s electropop vibe, which coincidentally is one of my favorite pop vibes. It only peaked at #74 on the Hot 100, which is surprising because I could listen to it for days. Honestly, I don’t have much to say about it. It’s really cool.
3. THE PHOENIX
After FOB’s three-year hiatus, it’s only natural that they started off their comeback album with one of the most epic songs in the history of pop punk. With the help of the London Symphony Orchestra, even the most staunch Fall Out Boy hater can’t help but get jazzed by “The Phoenix”. While the lyrics aren’t spectacular (“I’m gonna change you like a remix”), the violin riff is enough to make a grown man cry, and Stump’s somewhat distorted vocals fit the beat really well.
2. UMA THURMAN
FOB’s latest hit, “Uma Thurman”, succeeds because, as Panic! at the Disco’s entire discography proves, Fall Out Boy is at their best when they’re super weird. “Uma Thurman” has about four different hooks, baffling lyrics like “I slept in last night’s clothes and tomorrow’s dreams but they’re not quite what they seem”, and notes so high even P-Stump himself can’t hit them. But that’s why it works. It’s ridiculous. It’s hilarious. It’s fun. The “best Fall Out Boy song” isn’t the one where they sound the most like a band, or the one where they’re the most punk, or the one where they make the most sense: it’s the one where they embrace what people don’t like about them and use it to their advantage. Well, 2nd-best Fall Out Boy song. We’re not up to the best just yet. First, some honorable mentions.
“Grand Theft Autumn/Where is Your Boy?” (Take This to Your Grave)
“America’s Suitehearts” (Folie a Deux)
“Tiffany Blews” ft. Lil Wayne (Folie a Deux)
“Hot to the Touch, Cold on the Inside” (PAX AM Days)
“Irresistible” (American Beauty/American Psycho)
“Twin Skeleton’s (Hotel in NYC)” (American Beauty/American Psycho)
1. DANCE DANCE
Was there any doubt? I don’t think I’ve ever met a person who didn’t like this song. Fans love it, critics love it, even Patrick Stump himself said on Twitter, “‘Dance Dance’ is probably the best thing I’ve ever done”. It’s relentlessly catchy, beautifully produced, and one of the better-written songs in FOB’s catalog, all of which come together to make one of the best pop punk songs of all time. No one can deny “Dance Dance”.
So yeah, those are the best Fall Out Boy songs. I have a lot of ideas for articles to write soon. I may do a similar article about Drake. I definitely have some movie reviews on the way. I’ll probably write a review of Dr. Dre’s Compton. So be on the lookout for those, be sure to like this article if you like it, follow my blog if you like it like it, follow me on Twitter @BreakingPOORLY, and stay cool B^)