Back in 2001, 2 members of the Illinois underground hardcore punk/metalcore scene, Joe Trohman and Pete Wentz decided to form a new band, tired of playing metal all the time they wanted to go for a more pop-like approach. Both of them used to play in this late 90s metalcore band called Arma Angelus. Eventually Joe met up with Patrick Stump, who was actually a big fan of this band Pete was in called Extinction, one thing let to another and Patrick was choosen as vocalist for this new group of theirs as he fit the style they wanted to go for.
They recorded their debut EP, Fall Out Boy's Evening Out With Your Girlfriend (yes that's a real title) and...eh it's what you'd expect, it sounds really rough around the edges, production quality was obviously terrible and Patrick's vocals weren't very developed at the time. The only song from set EP to make it onto their debut was Calm Before the Storm which is also the only memorable one. After set EP they eventually recruted former drummer of political metalcore/deathcore band Racetraitor, Andy Hurley to play for them.
Anyways back on track, rough debut EP, it showed some potential in the writing and overall sound and it was nowhere to go but up and it sure went up afterwards as it's on their debut when they truly stepped up their game crafting what is essentially a blueprint for at the time the upcoming wave of emo/pop punk music in the mainstream.
This is the type of album that works a lot better if you play it while imagining it's from an underground pop punk act with some hardcore and emo influences rather than an album by the same band who made Centuries and everything on MANIA. And that is because when this came out, that was the case.
There's a certain youthfool energy to the album, it sounds like a bunch of friends making their pop punk record and having a blast doing so and it's the fun they're having that really carries the album throughout it's perfect 39 minute runtime. Sure not every song is exactly memorable but it works in the same way Dookie works, sure it's samey and not every song is super memorable and a standout but it's the catchiness and personality of it all put together with the melodies and fast pace of a lot of these songs that make it so much fun to listen too. Not to mention the hardcore and emo influences Pete brought to the table (his growls on early FOB records is underdiscussed, shit slaps) and the, overwritten, yet charming songwriting that these songs have to give them that edge.
Tell That Mick That He Just Made My List of Things To Do Today is the type of *calling out your ex for being a manipulative liar* anthem only Fall Out Boy could write with lines like "Let’s play this game, called “when you catch fire I wouldn’t piss to put you out"" and "Stop burning bridges and drive off of them So I can forget about you". It's lyrics are pretty aggressive and obviously melodramatic but Patrick's delivery just sells it with enough emotion and anger, the rough vocal production and raw delivery only helps to enhance it in this case.
Dead On Arrival is probably one of the catchiest songs on the record, the chorus is great. Lyrics see Patrick wanting this girl to give him a chance, love the way he compares the situation to music in the chorus
"This is side one, flip me over
I know I'm not your favorite record
The songs you grow to like never stick at first
So, I'm writing you a chorus, and here is your verse"
Y'know saying how she hasn't really seen everything that there is about him and how the things she likes tend to grow on her over time. It's kinda cute tbh.
Then we have the one two punch of Grand Theft Autumn/Where Is Your Boy and Saturday, the best songs on the record imo. Where Is Your Boy showcases Patrick's soul-like vocal style that would be more expanded upon on Folie A Duex while Saturday shows off Pete's screamo vocals in the last chorus, the song builds up well and the climax is excellent in that song. Both incredible pop punk anthems.
I love the bridge on Homesick at Space Camp, feels like a celebration of the friends and people they've made while touring. Idk there's something magical about it and everytime I just imagine them playing this in a basement and everyone singing that part. The song seems to be about a friend of theirs who moved far away and them trying to communicate with them again and expressing how much they miss him. Love the line "My smile's an open wound without you".
Grenade Jumper is extremely underrated, the song is such a wholesome and feel good track celebrating a friend of theirs that was there for them when they had no other friends.
Besides those, Chicago Is So Two Years Ago, Calm Before The Storm, The Pros and Cons of Breathing and Reinventing the Wheel to Run Myself Over are the only highlights. The rest aren't bad, actually quite good it's just that they're not very notable, good album tracks but on their own, eh there's better Fall Out Boy tracks you could be listening too from their pop punk days than them.
So yeah Take This To Your Grave is obviously not their best album but it is a great starting point for their discography, it's one hell of a debut that gives you a satisfying listen and enough great and memorable tracks to keep you coming back but also leaves room for improvement which is where their next album comes into play, but that's a story for another day.
Fav Tracks: Tell That Mick He Just Made My List of Things to Do Today, Dead on Arrival, Grand Theft Autumn/Where is Your Boy, Saturday, Homesick at Space Camp, Grenade Jumper, Calm Before The Storm, Chicago Is So Two Years Ago and Reinventing the Wheel to Run Myself Over
Post Review Thingy:
I won't be doing this thing daily obviously, expect a new one every couple of days, will probably take a week for Folie a Duex. Also for Save Rock and Roll I'll just update the review to add a bit to it, probably same for MANIA. I'm gonna have a break from school (finally) after tomorrow so I'll have more time to work on reviews.