12:33 AM on 02/29/12
Early in high school, I had two friends who were obsessed with Fall Out Boy. I didn't like them and bashed them whenever I got the chance. I was 15 and stupid. We saw them open (yes, open) for Less Than Jake and my mind changed a bit. "From Under the Cork Tree" came out and the songs got stuck in my head. I revisited "Take This to Your Grave" and between the two I found something both fun and heartfelt, even if it wasn't what usually struck a chord for me. I enjoyed it, and try as I might to resist it, it was undeniably good.
"Infinity On High" came out and I wasn't hooked. I really liked a few songs and ignored the others. I never really heard much of "Folie a Deux," and by that point I didn't care much. I still love the old stuff, but I was already at the age where walking around bashing someone's creation wasn't really my thing (I still do it sometimes. Can't help it. Some things evoke that reaction).
As a musician, and as someone who has loved music for a long time, I can say I've reached a point in my life where I find it unnecessary to go around tearing down what other people create. I know I'm still guilty of it sometimes. It's easy (especially on the internet) to get caught in a mob mentality and just agree with how shitty we think something is. The truth is we all have different tastes, and someone somewhere likes those songs. There's an audience for them, even if that audience can't fill an arena. Our tastes also change, and just because we like someone's old work better than their new work doesn't give us the right to say it's not of equal quality. Quality in music is all relative.
The point is he is someone who puts himself into his music. The business isn't easy and you'll never please everybody. When it comes to being human, we have to be able to please ourselves and do what's best for us. This is an honest confession from someone who isn't doing so well right now. You don't have to pity him for his success or pity him because people don't like his music anymore. But realize he's a person who has given his years to entertainment, and is now left with few other options because of who he is (he mentions the notoriety). Many of us can't imagine the downsides of that life.
I haven't even heard his solo music. I don't really have an interest. But I respect that he's making it and that he's trying to do what he needs to do for himself. I respect the things he's created, even if I've made fun of them myself. I wouldn't want to feel that way either.