Fall Out Boy - Take This to Your Grave
Sep 2, 2020
This is easily the most straight-forward Fall Out Boy ever sounded, grounded in the pop punk and emo that had been gaining more prominence by the late 1990's and early 2000's. This is that rare point in their young career where they could have been seen as the pop punk underdogs, with only minor success coming from their independent label debut. Take This to Your Grave laid a foundation for the four-pieces sound that would inevitably be dressed up in far more frills and direct hooks once they moved to a major label.

The only real issue with Take This to Your Grave is its lack of distinction from the various other pop punk albums of the early 2000's (and trust me, there were a lot). Really, most of the bands in this time period right before the pop punk explosion were in the same boat. The songs are, as expected, just catchy choruses and sing-along vocals paired with guitar-driven rock. Wentz, the bassist and primary lyricist, showed some strong promise as a songwriter here on the debut but hadn't really found his own voice just yet. The album just feels by all means very standard.

That's not necessarily bad. For those who can't stand their glossy and overblown pop sound that would come by the early 2010's, and even arguably before, this should give you a massive sigh of relief. The groups roots are far more listenable than their later albums without a shadow of a doubt, but that has less to do with Fall Out Boy and more to do with pop punk being a generally more appealing sound than their commercial records. However, any pop punk purist would likely choose a New Found Glory, The Starting Line, or Saves the Day record over Take This to Your Grave.

Fall Out Boy were an unlikely success, and had Take This to Your Grave been their only album they would be all but forgotten almost twenty years later. Even listening to this standard pop punk tracks you would be likely shocked that the group went anywhere at all. But if you read between the lines, the creativity was still settling under the surface and in a mere few years it would explode not just Fall Out Boy, but an entire pop punk commercial movement.

Favorite track: Saturday

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