Character development and Fall Out Boy

Mackenzie Bush

By Mackenzie Bush

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When I was in high school, I considered myself to be a social outcast. As is required, I wore more than my fair share of black nail polish, told people I “wasn’t like other girls” and listened to pop punk. I must have had at least three different Paramore t-shirts.

So I kind of fulfilled all of my little emo kid dreams when I saw Fall Out Boy this weekend at the Soaring Eagle Casino in Mount Pleasant.

In terms of a quick review, the concert was full of energy, good stage presence and many, many pyrotechnics. And unlike most outdoor concerts that I’ve attended, everyone in the hill section stood from the moment Fall Out Boy went onstage until the end of the encore, and there was even a fair amount of dancing, despite the section’s semi-precarious slope.

The band played a good mixture of stuff from their new album, as well as obligatory songs they wrote in like, 2005. But when these two parts of the band’s career were blended together into a set list, the juxtaposition between the two eras was difficult to ignore.

Fall Out Boy’s new album does away with their gimmick of long song titles, and classifications like “pop punk” and “alt rock” just don’t fit anymore. Save Rock and Roll, the band’s newest release, feels cleaner and its lyrics more sincere. In addition, it feels to me like they’ve shifted the message in their music entirely, moving from rebellion to empathy, which might be the biggest difference.

After the concert, I couldn’t help thinking how Fall Out Boy could have easily thrown together their newest album, the first they’ve released in six years. The band had found a formula that worked fairly well for them; it would have been easier to stick to it, especially since their most dedicated fans would eat it up either way, and might have actually preferred that version of the album.

But to live, and especially to create art, is to change, to evolve and morph until your past self wouldn’t even understand how you got here. Personally, I’m glad 2014 Fall Out Boy doesn’t write the same way as 2008 Fall Out Boy, and I’m glad that fourteen-year-old me and twenty-one-year-old me would never get along.

If old things are too comfortable, it’s easy to lie down in them and stay still for so long you doze off. Many artists fail because they’re simply too afraid to try something different and their novelty wears off. Along the same lines, I know that I have held onto people and dreams so long that they fell to pieces in my hands.

But if Destiny’s Child hadn’t broken up, we wouldn’t have gotten Beyoncé. If you don’t push yourself, you’re kinetic energy will run out sooner or later. And if you stay friends with that one toxic person—you know the one—you’ll never figure out how much cooler than them you are.