There was a time that I absolutely hated everything about Fall Out Boy. In the archives of this blog, you will find a few pointed rants about the alleged merits and allure of this band. But you will also find some nice words about the band's 2007 album, Infinity On High. Yes, as surprising as Seth Petruzelli's win over Kimbo Slice, I really liked what the Young FOB had come out with. Yet I thought this was a fluke and didn't further investigate their follow-up, Folie a Deux.
Well, last week's edition AV Club Q&A got me thinking about the kind of pop culture that makes me feel old. Right off the top of my head, it's "greatest hits" compilations from bands that I still think are young. Young in the sense that these artists have nothing guaranteed about their legacy other than selling a lot of records. Young in the sense that their record label is trying to get the most out of a band's short lifespan. And young in the sense that I still remember when their first few albums came out less than ten years before.
As I browsed the ever-dwindling CD selection at Best Buy last Friday night, I noticed the Believers Never Die compilation. I felt old, but I also thought this could be a decent compilation. Just the hits and some rarities and a bonus DVD with commentary from the band members? I was intrigued.
When I received an advance copy of Infinity On High and liked what I heard on it, I didn't handicap the album. I wasn't thinking about puff pieces that talked about Pete Wentz's hair or who Pete was dating. I wasn't thinking about the time I saw the band open for Taking Back Sunday and finding their set to be much more style without really any trace of substance. And I wasn't thinking about all the ugly things I had said about them, as well as people my age.
I've found that a lot of people my age hated and still hate this band. I respect that. As I wrote POST, I tried to put all this "Oh my gosh!! FOB fo-eva!!!" fandom in the background and really focus on bands and a time when this wasn't a mainstream identity. But I've always stood behind the notion that you should like what you should like when it comes to music. If you like a song, you shouldn't have to deal with the sociological implications. You can that way, but fessing up to this stuff usually comes with a defensive tone.
Some friends of mine who are a few years older than me have spoken up about their fandom as well. Sure, they received a lot of flak, but they stand by their opinions.
I'm not saying, "Hey, you know, Adolf Hitler was not that bad of a guy, and the Final Solution is still a great idea." I'm just saying that I've had a change of heart about the merits of a band's music.
That band just happens to be Fall Out Boy.