Throwbacks: Fall Out Boy // Folie A Deux
Here at Circulation we’ve always taken pride in championing the new and the upcoming. Unfortunately, we’re all victims of the human condition, so we thrive on nostalgia and “the good old days” (whenever those were).
So, we’ve decided to take a step back and look at some of the albums that shaped us; that really mean something to us; that we just plain adore. There’s nothing quite like a record that you can always sink back into like your favourite pair of shoes, that greets you like an old friend you haven’t seen in years but still maintain that connection with.
Welcome to our new Throwbacks column where we can revel in nostalgia and wax lyrical about our favourite records, kicking off with Lucy McLaughlin talking about Fall Out Boy’s Folie A Deux.
When Folie A Deux was released, I was 12 years old. Nine years later, it means the absolute world to me. However, that doesn’t mean I was immediately enamoured with this record. I distinctly remember being tucked up in bed with some form of illness – probably just a cold, to be honest, let’s not be dramatic – around Folie’s release date, listening to it for the first time and seeing some bad reviews of it. Folie was controversial – it strayed away from the usual tenets of Fall Out Boy’s music, and many didn’t approve. Myself included, unfortunately. I had only been a fan for a few months and was still finding my feet in the type of music I liked – it was like one day somebody flicked a switch and suddenly I had gone from loving Alphabeat (you’ve got to admit ‘Fascination’ banged) to being a huge fan of Fall Out Boy, Panic! At The Disco and My Chemical Romance (because apparently when you’re 12, genres are mutually exclusive). I was used to the Fall Out Boy who made songs like ‘A Little Less Sixteen Candles’, ‘Dance, Dance’ and ‘Thnks Fr Th Mmrs’, and in my head, it simply wasn’t the band I’d decided to devote my little pre-teen heart to.
So, that was that. I just didn’t listen to Folie A Deux, aside from not being able to escape ‘I Don’t Care’ and ‘America’s Suitehearts’ – which I loved – on Kerrang! TV (god, wasn’t 2008 a different universe). Folie was rather unfairly written off.
It was a few years later, when I was around 15 and was in the throes of Tumblr and “bandom” (really exposing myself, here), that Folie A Deux’s charms truly became apparent to me. It’s probably fair to call the immersive subculture that was Tumblr responsible for this about turn – hearing other people’s praises and gifs of Folie’s lyrics inspired me to give it another a chance.
When I was 16, Fall Out Boy came off hiatus, much to my pure delight (think nearly crying in a lesson after finding out level delight – Andrea, if you’re reading this, sorry you had to deal with me that day). They became much more prominent in my life immediately, and with that, so did Folie A Deux.
Folie A Deux has stood the test of time for me. Even though they’re far removed from what I generally listen to now, they’re still always going to be that band for me – it’s a tie between them and Panic! At The Disco for really shaping my early teens – and I still love all their records (shoutout to From Under The Cork Tree, you the real MVP), but Folie really is just the one.
‘Headfirst Slide Into Cooperstown On A Bad Bet’ is still, to this day, one of the best songs I’ve ever heard. I could write a whole piece just on this track, if I’m honest (but I’m not going to put any of you through that, don’t worry). It’s an experience to listen to, an exercise in levelled histrionics, juxtaposed guitar and piano, and nonsensical lyrics. It’s also one of the best examples of singer Patrick Stump’s superb voice that you’ll hear within Fall Out Boy’s discography (his solo record, Soul Punk, is even better for that).
‘What A Catch, Donnie’ brings out so many emo mainstays of that era singing old Fall Out Boy lyrics over the end of the song, including Cobra Starship’s Gabe Saporta, Panic! At The Disco’s Brendon Urie, and The Academy Is…’s William Beckett (love of my young life), along with an appearance from Elvis Costello.
I still love the simplicity of ‘(Coffee’s For Closers)’’s repeated “change will come” and the surprise of the closing violins, and the contrast in sound of the bridge in ‘Tiffany Blews’ compared to the rest of the track. ’20 Dollar Nose Bleed’ is upbeat (in terms of sound, anyway) but then launches into a dark monologue from bassist Pete Wentz in the last 30 seconds, and ‘Disloyal Order of Water Buffaloes’ is anthemic, with its “detox just to retox” chant. B-side ‘Pavlove’ is equally fantastic, a song I’m still outraged isn’t an album track.
It’s a record of experimentation that always felt homely; something I would listen to ubiquitously. Folie is a blend of overwrought melancholy and positivity that meant it was suitable for whatever mood I had, whether I wanted to wallow or revel.
Today, Folie A Deux feels like being 15 years old and feeling every emotion to the hilt, reblogging gifs of obscure lyrics that couldn’t possibly be relevant to my life at that age, and moaning about the band I wanted to see not playing a gig in Manchester. At the same time, it feels like an old companion that’s always going to be there for me, bringing about a sense of comfort with every listen.