March 14, 2006


I'm a bigger fan of Fall Out Boy than I probably let on. I don't have any t-shirts, don't post on message boards about them... but I listen to them even more than I assumed, especially lately. I bought their first CD on the day I got into my first car accident, over two years ago. I was obsessed with it for several months. When their second disc came out last year, I wasn't as impressed, but the damn thing grew on me over time. If I were re-ranking my top ten albums from 2005, I'd probably place it above #10.

Being a music geek, I often ponder things that don't matter at all. And this subject came to me over the weekend during a long drive home. I was listening to Fall Out Boy's first EP, "Evening Out With Your Girlfriend," and recalling a conversation I had with my friend Craig. He told me that he'd listened to it and it reminded him of the early New Found Glory stuff, which I totally agree with. Not only does it sound fairly similar, but both bands started with the same type of material before moving on. Both records have a basic, rough punk-pop sound with repetitive melodies and lyrics about girls.

And with this, the brain train started moving. I present to you two arguments on how Fall Out Boy's albums have followed a similar trek as the ones released by New Found Glory. I'm not saying that Fall Out Boy is copying New Found Glory... not in the slightest. I'm merely stating that each corresponding record is similar in execution and what it did for each band's career. I may also be wasting my time. Feel free to point out crucial flaws in the comments.

I begin with Option #1, which starts with FOB's "Evening Out With Your Girlfriend" being compared to NFG's "Nothing Gold Can Stay." While the FOB disc isn't considered their first album (just nine short tracks), it's their first work of any length, just as "Nothing Gold Can Stay" was New Found Glory's first major release. Both are raw and underproduced, and didn't afford the band much success. Yet, fans cherish both works and consider them to be quality relics.

Fall Out Boy's "Take This to Your Grave" compares favorably with New Found Glory's self-titled sophomore album. Both albums found their respective bands gaining massive underground success, as well as a little bit of mainstream notoriety. Both sold well and are considered by many to be the landmark record for each band. Each record killed from start to finish, and was well-produced, but not to the level of being over-produced. In addition, each record used a re-recorded song from their previous release (NFG: "Hit or Miss;" FOB: "Calm Before the Storm").

New Found Glory found real mainstream success with 2002's "Sticks and Stones." Lead single "My Friends Over You" was all over alternative radio and TRL, and had an oddly amusing video. The second single, "Head-On Collision," wasn't as big of a hit, but also had a silly video, proving that the band didn't take themselves too seriously. The album itself was mostly great, though there were a couple tracks that stunk of mediocrity, though it's entirely possible that they fine, just not as good as the best tracks on the album (which were, admittedly, excellent).

Fall Out Boy has found huge success with last year's "From Under the Cork Tree." Lead single "Sugar, We're Going Down" proved to be the catchiest song of last summer/fall, and had a stupid (though well-liked) video about love and boys with antlers. Right. Second single "Dance, Dance" was almost as big, though the video was much better, parodying 80's teen comedy movies (and the band itself). The album itself is mostly great. Though not incredible from start to finish, most of the tracks are among the best the band has put out. The album has gotten so big that it was re-released today with bonus tracks (yeah, I bought it).

New Found Glory's last album, 2004's "Catalyst" was a solid release, though it failed to live up to the previous two records. "All Downhill From Here" did well as a single, though there wasn't a notable follow-up. The album itself had some very good tracks, while others weren't nearly as impressive. Fall Out Boy has yet to release a third album, though they're likely to do so in 2007. I'm expecting great things from it, and hopefully it'll be more impressive than "Catalyst" was.

Did you like that? See how I waste my time? Ah, it amuses me. Still, I couldn't help but think of another way in which the albums match up. So let me quickly introduce Option #2...

Forget "Evening Out With Your Girlfriend." We'll match it up with NFG's "All About the Girls" EP for argument's sake. Neither is terribly impressive... the FOB disc is better, whereas the NFG has one worthwhile track ("Standstill"). Both are raw and hint at the future. Thus, "Take This to Your Grave" would match up with "Nothing Gold Can Stay." Both were released on indie labels and helped to make a name for the band, as well as the record label.

"From Under the Cork Tree" would then be compared to NFG's self-titled album, which is a decent match-up. Both expanded the sound a bit from the previous record and helped the band garner way more fans than they previously had. In addition, both records used a song from a previous release (NFG: "Hit or Miss;" FOB: "Nobody Puts Baby in the Corner"). My problem with the second argument is that the records don't match up as well in overall sound or how they affected that bands' respective status.

I think there's a decent argument to be made that Fall Out Boy is loosely following the model that New Found Glory set out for them a couple years earlier. While Fall Out Boy has become much more popular in a shorter amount of time, there are too many consistant details to rule it out entirely. Still, I hope that Fall Out Boy will release a new album better than "Catalyst," and hopefully New Found Glory will also top it with their next record.