7 – Mania:
Mania is Fall Out Boy’s most recent album and probably their most controversial. Some fans won’t be surprised to see it at the bottom of the list, but regardless of the less than stellar reactions it received, I still adore this album. Its style is the most different from all of their projects, but I don’t see that as a bad thing. The band experiments with interesting electronic sounds that contrasts their previous works. That being said, I still think that as far as enjoyment goes, it fades into the background in comparison to the albums that came before.
Lyrically, this album focuses mostly on redemption and the inspiration it takes to be confident. Some of the songs discuss profound love for another person who might not feel the same way. I think that the writing is definitely what gives this album a great deal of its shine.
I’m not sure why, but this record makes me feel loved. The work put into it and the excitement the band probably felt getting to try out a sound is extremely evident. Lyric wise, the band is fantastic at making listeners feel the heartache they put into their music, and that stood out here.
Favorite Song: “Stay Frosty Royal Milk Tea”
6 – Take This to Your Grave:
My ranking of this album will probably be absolutely outrageous to many die-hard fans, but as far as opinions go, this one is mine. Take This to Your Grave is Fall Out Boy’s first studio album, released in early 2003. In essence, the sound is the definition of softcore pop punk and emo. It’s lower ranking is mostly due to the inexperience that’s present in most aspects of the album. This album just doesn’t live up to the the five in front of it when compared to the well developed sound more evident as they become veterans in the scene. Part of this can be blamed on the short period of time the record was recorded in.
The writing is a mish-mash of styles due to fighting within the band over how the lyrics should feel and sound, but that doesn’t take away from the concept at all. The album deals with topics of graduating high school and unrequited love; everything filled with teenage angst that makes it feel all the more genuine.
Much like From Under the Cork Tree, this album feels like being young, stupid, and desperate. It’s something that can only be properly enjoyed during adolescence. I think that as the years go by, it slowly becomes less relatable, but that doesn’t make it any less replayable.
Favorite Song: “The Pros and Cons of Breathing”
5 – Save Rock and Roll:
On April 12, 2013, Fall Out Boy’s fifth studio album, Save Rock and Roll was released. It was the first album to come out after their three year hiatus, which started in 2009. This album was pretty controversial among fans and still is. Its harder lean towards pop/alternative and away from their punk rock aesthetic left many feeling that they were just “selling out” in order to appeal to a wider audience. However, I heavily disagree with this. Save Rock and Roll is a cohesive, booming record with songs that makes me want to turn the volume up.
The lyrics feel similar to those on their album American Beauty/American Psycho, with themes of broken relationships, but it also puts a specific emphasis on the passing of time. Multiple songs mention running out of time, watching it slip away, or wanting to turn it back.
I’m particularly biased towards this album because it was the first Fall Out Boy record I ever listened to. I can’t exactly describe the feeling it gives me because all I can think of is the personal memories I have associated with it. Despite its ranking on this list, this album means so much to me, and I find myself coming back to it often.
Favorite Song: “Just One Yesterday”
4 – From Under the Cork Tree:
It’s a shame that to some people From Under the Cork Tree is just “The Sugar We’re Going Down album” because that song is only the tip of the iceberg for what this record has to offer. Released in early 2005, its sound is aggressive and juvenile, which only feeds into the appeal of it. From Under the Cork Tree is emo in its most raw form, making it an easy fan favorite.
Anger is a word that jumps out at me when I think about this album lyrically. There’s bitter anger, but also a melancholic feeling that’s hard to ignore injected into every song. Being young and fresh out of high school is tough, and much of the album echos that sentiment.
I get extremely pumped up when I hear this album. It makes me want to dance and flail around wildly. It feels like driving down an endless road with a group of your best friends and feeling invincible.
Favorite Song: “Get Busy Living or Get Busy Dying”
3 – Infinity on High:
Infinity on High is Fall Out Boy’s third studio album, released February 6, 2007. Its style strays further away from their hardcore punk roots and more into pop punk. The edgier sound of their previous album, From Under the Cork Tree, is traded for orchestral numbers and bubblier up-beat pop vibes.
Its lyrics focus mostly on the band’s rise to fame with the extreme popularity they experienced in the year between albums. Some critics have complained about how unrelatable the references to stardom and screaming fans can be, but I feel that it gives an interesting insight into a perspective that not many people get to experience. In certain tracks, there are also elements of decayed romance and jealousy that shine through.
I get such a strong feeling of heartache and isolation from this album. It makes me feel lonely, longing for an experience or a person I’ll never have. There’s an intense bitterness towards so many things and people that’s poignant through each song.
Favorite Song: “I’ve Got All This Ringing In My Ears and None On My Fingers”
2 – American Beauty/American Psycho:
January 16, 2015 is the release date of the album American Beauty/American Psycho. The single “Centuries,” a four times platinum song and arguably one of their most famous, is a notable feature. This album’s sound is loud and pulsing; best described as part of the pop rock/alternative genre. From the guitars to the incredible vocals, I always find myself wanting to crank up the volume on my headphones.
Lyrically, this album focuses on relationships that ended on hostile terms as well as deep and intricate friendships. The writing feels more mature and confident than the band’s previous work. The lyricism is what draws me towards it and keep me coming back.
While there are a few headbangers here, I also get quite choked up hearing some of the songs. It’s incredible how the album can go from intense guitar and screaming to feeling morose and overwhelmed with emotion and still be so cohesive.
Favorite Song: “The Kids Aren’t Alright”
1 – Folie à Deux:
Folie à Deux was released at the tail end of 2008, and it continues Infinity on High’s theme of musical experimentation, combining rock, funk, and hints of R&B that made this album highly controversial amongst fans. The further evolution of their musical style was a high point of contention for the band’s fanbase. Regardless of overwhelming judgement, there is no doubt in my mind that it is one of Fall Out Boy’s greatest achievements.
Its lyrics focus more on storytelling absent in other examples of their work. The band strays away from autobiographical songs and more towards themes of things like morality and fading relationships.
To me, this album feels like growing up. Not just physically, but emotionally. It’s the maturing of the mind and the sudden understanding a person can feel while uncovering more things about themself and the world around them.
Favorite Song: “w.a.m.s.”