Fall Out Boy – Take This to Your Grave
Record Label: Fueled By Ramen
Release Date: May 6 2003
Being a Wisconsinite, I don’t think I’ll ever get over how debut studio record Take This to Your Grave by Illinois pop-punk (now pop-rock) band Fall Out Boy was recorded in Madison. This is a record that changed pop-punk as we know it today, to be totally honest. It’s an amazing record, to say the least. Whether it was vocalist/guitarist Patrick Stump’s soulful voice, or Pete Wentz’s bitter tongue, it was a record that really made people stop and pay attention to these four young men. Its tenth anniversary was earlier this year, and before I talk about the record, I just want to talk about how important this band is to me. While Take This to Your Grave is not my favorite Fall Out Boy album (but it’s great nonetheless), talking about why they’re so important to me is fitting here, because this record is what started it all. Without this album, Fall Out Boy wouldn’t be as huge as they are today. One could argue that without their other records, they wouldn’t, either, but even then, this is the record that got people to notice them. It does bother me how a lot of people disregard their last few records because they weren’t “pop-punk” enough, but this record is the record that got people to look at them, and well, listen to them. If you, the reader, are wondering, my favorite Fall Out Boy record is 2007’s Infinity On High, and it’s not only because it’s the first record I listened to by them, but it’s musically and lyrically my favorite. I first bought this record when I was around 13-years-old. I got into music rather late, and Infinity On High was one of the first albums I ever bought. The first was The All American Reject’s Move Along, but I digress. I had heard the song “Sugar We’re Going Down” from a friend a year or so before that when she came over to my house, and showed me the music video. I didn’t know who they were, where they were from, or even what pop-punk was, but I knew I liked it. It was unlike anything I had ever heard before, which was a good thing. I wasn’t into much music at the time, because I was just getting into it, so it was nice to be exposed to them very early on.
That’s ultimately what led me to check out Infinity On High. It had just come out a year or so later, and I was really curious. I still have my old copy of the record, although it’s a little beat up. When I first heard it, it was unlike anything I’d ever heard before, regardless if I haven’t been into much music to begin with. It was still an amazing experience, and ultimately, Infinity On High was the record that made me love music, and it’s honestly my favorite album. So it’s only fair that I get into their past and future discography, as well. Well, I did, and one by one, I began getting all of Fall Out Boy’s albums. I didn’t end up finding a physical copy of Take This to Your Grave for a long time, but once I got it, I listened to the record in full, and fell in love with it. And it’s clear to see why this record is so well received by pop-punk fans, considering it’s one of the records that helped to define the genre. One of my favorite pop-punk bands, I Call Fives, even references this record in their self-titled debut record released last year. They have a rather “old school” pop-punk sound that reminds me of records like this, and I love it. The thing is, though, being that is old school pop-punk, it’s a unique record in the sense that it helped to spawn plenty of other bands, but even in general, it wasn’t a revolutionary record that really changed music. It changed the genre, but it wasn’t a record like Michael Jackson’s Thriller that changed the genre, but also changed music in some way. Its biggest “flaw” is that is that it is rather derivative. It’s not generic or boring, but it can drag on, because every song sounds exactly the same. Other than that, this is a really solid album. There are a few songs that it’s really known for, such as third track “Grand Theft Autumn/Where Is Your Boy?” I vaguely remember hearing this song years ago after I started getting more into Fall Out Boy, but it was a long time since I heard it. This is the epitome of the record, really; it’s honestly my favorite track, and the most “iconic” song from it. Another one would probably be fourth track “Saturday,” and I love playing that song on Saturdays, but it’s still a solid song. The whole record is great, actually, and while it was Fall Out Boy at the start of their popularity and rise to fame, there is a bit of “immaturity” in their sound, but it’s washed away by sophomore album From Under the Cork Tree, which had some “experimental” elements in it, such as pop and R&B, which worked very well. This record doesn’t really have an “edge,” per se. Yes, like I said, it definitely shook up the pop-punk genre, mainly for vocalist Patrick Stump’s very unique voice and Pete Wentz’s very sharp tongue, in terms of his lyrics, but instrumentally, it’s nothing really unique or out there. It’s very energetic, and very catchy, but that’s about it. That’s okay, though, because there is enough in this record to really keep someone like myself coming back to this album. And frankly, this is my all time favorite pop-punk record, and while Infinity On High is a pop-punk record in essence, it’s got a lot of pop-rock, pop, R&B, and even some Latin music in there. Basically, though, if you’re a pop-punk fan, this is an essential record. The fact that it’s more than ten years old and still relevant is truly remarkable to see, and to add onto the fact that the band released a new album after a five year absence in complete secret is just icing on the cake.