Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Fall Out Boy: From Under the Cork Tree

Life is full of little miracles. Sunsets. The birth of a beautiful child. Punk albums that cross over into the mainstream.

That's right, you didn't mis-hear that. Punk bands who hit it big are one of life's little miracles. God Bless America.

Formed in 2000, Fall Out Boy comes out of the Chicago punk scene. From Under the Oak Tree is their second full-length album and was released in 2005. Fall Out Boy's albums have been released under two different record labels, indy label Fueled by Ramen (Best. Record label. Name. Ever.) and Island.

One of the things you have to love about Fall Out Boy is their ability to start an album right. The title of the first track of their debut album for FBR, Take This to Your Grave is "Tell that Mick he just made my list of things to do" (and if there's a better name for a song it's not coming to me right now).

Here, on From Under the Cork Tree we start things off with "Our lawyer made us change the name of this song so we wouldn't get sued". See? See? This opening track is punk-infused anthem rock at its best. We're only liars but we're the best the song tells us. Alright then, ladies and gentlemen, we have a rock band.

Track 2, "Of all the gin joints in all the world" continues to show off what's great about this young band (that would be loud guitars and lead singer with some awesome pipes). This song is enough to make old men like me get in touch with our inner headbanging moshpit crashing selves. Man it feels good to listen to an album that could even let you say that.

Track 3, "Dance, Dance" is a cut tailor-made for MTV and rock radio (again, assuming such a thing really existed anymore- where I live there isn't). A high-octane rock number with great vocals and energetic guitar riffs.

There hasn't been a single track on an album that drew a big arrow over a band and said "we're stars" like this since Live's "Lightning Crashes".

Track 4, "Sugar We're Goin Down" continues the string of hit-worthy rock tunes on From Under the Cork Tree. What's great about this album, in particular, but this band in general is the realization from the album's producers that energetic guitars and a booming-voiced lead singer, plus a dash of charisma is enough to carry an album.

As opposed to those producers who think slick overproduction is what makes a good album.

Track 5, "Nobody puts baby in the corner" is a good old fashioned thrash song that specializes in energy you could only classify as frenetic. Don't play this track while jogging unless you want to run. Don't play it while driving unless you have a radar detector.

Track 7, "7 minutes in Heaven" continues the album's trend of spinning out hit-worthy rock anthems.

Track 10 is my second favorite track on the album, "Champaigne for my real friends". A little more melodic than some of the harder-driving tracks on the album, this album is carried by the tremendous voice of FOB's vocalist.

Track 11, "A little less 16 candles" is another angsty-rock number all about love that just isn't going to go well. In other words, its a great song we can all identify with.


From Under the Cork Tree shows that Fall Out Boy has arrived. And quickly at that. This album continues to prove that high-energy rock isn't dead. This album is better than caffeine.

Grade: A

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