Fall Out Boy: Sell-Outs Or Changing With The Times?

17 October 2016, 12:42 | Updated: 27 December 2019, 13:49

By Community Post

"Remember when Fall Out Boy weren't a sell-out?"

This piece was written by Nathan Sartain (@nathan_sartain) for PopBuzz Community. 

Where there is Fall Out Boy, there is controversy. 

The band are certainly no strangers to causing big debate, most recently over their single for the new 'Ghostbusters' remake movie, which is a twist on the original soundtrack song. 

The song's release has sparked many people to (as they seemingly always do when FOB release a new song) accuse the band of having 'sold out' or 'changed for fame'.

One person decided to comment on the new song;  "I feel like reporting this video for violent or repulsive content... because I feel physically sick listening to this bastardization of something I love from my childhood."

But are Fall Out Boy really sellouts, or have they simply just evolved with the times?

It's easy to go with the former statement, given their gritty, underground punk sound has been swapped for a more easy-going pop-rock style. This has angered some of the die-hards, as they seemingly enter a pit of rage every time a track that sounds nothing like anything from their earlier albums emerges, forgetting that every band changes sound at some point and you just have to accept it. 

In response to the argument that they have sold out just to get a bit of fame, have they really? Every album apart from their greatest hits has been a top 10 hit, and in 2007, their arguable peak, they scored a number 1 album with ‘Infinity On High’  - but chances are, they weren’t sell-outs to you then.

The evolution argument however, makes a lot more sense - here's why: Disregarding material pre-2005, Fall Out Boy received both love and hate from the public and critics when they burst onto the scene with their debut album. A lot of people said it was ‘emo trash’, a lot of people praised it as a breath of fresh air. 

Their next album saw further musical evolution, with their gritty sound being slightly toned down and replaced with cleaner vocals and slightly less distorted guitar beats. ‘Folie A Deux’ saw another great change, with their music becoming stylistically a lot more polished and generally easier for people not accustomed to their style to listen to. 

And then came the hiatus.

After the hiatus Fall Out Boy came back with a completely fresh sound, it was melodic rock at times and a lot less gritty. Songs like ‘Young Volcanoes’ highlighted the change, with Patrick’s voice being at the forefront and no longer hidden behind anything. The change continued and their latest effort abbreviated as ‘AB/AP’ even has a couple of pop songs, showing they’re not afraid to change with the times and progress their sound as their careers do the same. 

It is clear that this isn’t selling out, it is simply evolving to avoid being left behind. 

As the band once said, selling-out is finding something that sells well and doing it over and over again, never trying something else, but we all know that isn’t the case here. 

FOB have returned with a new style with every album, so no, they haven’t sold out, no matter how over-produced their latest single is (which by the way they didn’t even write) and no matter how far their sound changes from their early material.

They are a band that will always take risks, and always change with the times. 

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