Country Discovers Fall Out Boy
Veterans of the Chicago hardcore scene, Fall Out Boy's feelings-filled embrace of emo, punk and the accessibility of late-90s alt-rock and pop-punk made them one of the most successful purveyors of riff-driven angst during the middle aughts. But the band's success, along with that of groups like My Chemical Romance and Panic! At the Disco, proved to be the last gasp of the Warped Tour world, which began to move from a relatively formidable pop force to a niche market by the end of the decade (such is the Internet). Fall Out Boy went on hiatus in 2009, but returned this year with a new record, Save Rock and Roll. The album's successful first single, "My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark," was a blast of pop-punk produced for the EDM era and was eventually remixed with contemporary hip-hop's go-to guest MC, 2 Chainz. The song, it turns out, also proved to be a sleeper favorite in Nashville.
In July, Taylor Swift — as close as it gets to a country-pop-punk princess — invited FOB frontman Patrick Stump on stage in New Jersey to perform "My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark," calling the cut one of her favorites of the year. Keith Urban dug the song so much he brought in its producer, Butch Walker, to help out on two songs on his latest record, Fuse. With a buzzsaw guitar riff that gives way to sunny acoustic strumming, and some always wonderful, always genre-less "whoa-oh-ohs," Urban's Walker-produced "Even The Stars Fall 4 U" indeed boasts a sonic make-up of a Hot Topic compilation blasting through the speakers at a Cracker Barrel. When Fall Out Boy and The Band Perry's Crossroads episode airs November 29th, don't be surprised if the electric guitar-inclinded Perry siblings take to the crunchy, sky-high riffs of "Sugar, We're Goin Down," or if Stump and Pete Wentz move through the kiss-off "Done" with a breezy, palm-muted chug.
"I think Patrick's melodies, maybe, lend themselves to country naturally," Wentz recently suggested to Radio.com regarding the genre's current fascination with his band, though admittedly he had not noticed. "Country lyrics have been the most interesting aspect of country music to me. The thing that I like is like when you can't pigeonhole a country artist."
Despite terms used to classify — and chart — these artists, Swift, Urban and the Perrys swim in the same pop gene pool as Fall Out Boy. All are songwriters who understand that a hook is a hook is a hook whether it's being played by a mandolin, a distorted guitar, a synthesizer or sung by an Auto-Tuned voice. Both country and pop-punk have their respective sets of strict genre rules, but once mastered, the limitations force innovation. Just as Swift melded her country bona fides with a vibrant pop palette to reach her current Unstoppable Force status, FOB in 2013 retain aspects of their hardcore and pop-punk past, like the all-too-crucial breakdown, while embracing elements of dance music and hip-hop. Crossing over , or blurring musical lines, isn't so much a big, earth-shattering move nowadays so much as it's the natural order of pop songwriting. Essentially, real recognizing real, and then real wanting to ape real because, holy crap it sounds real good. A lot more.
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