Take This to Your Grave

Take This to Your Grave

When Fall Out Boy recorded the songs that would become their 2003 debut, Take This to Your Grave, they were living on the edge, sleeping on borrowed floors and bargaining with the studio for PB&J money. In the two decades since, the Chicagoland foursome of vocalist Patrick Stump, bassist Pete Wentz, guitarist Joe Trohman, and drummer Andy Hurley has become one of rock’s biggest acts. And the way Take This to Your Grave has an immediate appeal while reaching beyond punk’s three-chord ethos and toward ideas that are both knottier and bigger shows how they got there. The album opens with “Tell That Mick He Just Made My List of Things to Do Today,” which lays out the blueprint: Trohman’s power chords give way to Hurley’s breakneck drumming, which sets the stage for Wentz’s surreal yet sardonic lyrics, delivered in Stump’s wail. Fall Out Boy’s strength has long laid in the way its four members click as a band; their back-to-basics punk instincts collide with their world-conquering ambitions in thrilling ways, resulting in songs that are as suitable for catalyzing mosh pits at the beloved Chicago DIY space Fireside Bowl as they are for inspiring mass sing-alongs at Wrigley Field. Take This to Your Grave is a period-appropriate amalgamation of edge-dwelling rock—a flag-plant amid the still-clearing dust of the century-ending alternative boom. Its songs combine the twist-tie riffs of Midwest emo, the potent harmonies of power pop, the gang vocals of heavily tattooed hardcore, and the intricate yet mighty drumming of metal, with pithy, away-message-ready lyrics cementing their indelibility. The album’s full-bodied sound, too, gives extra brawn to cuts like the punchy “Grenade Jumper” and the sneering “Calm Before the Storm.” While Stump’s voice has yet to reach the full flower that added a dollop of soul to Fall Out Boy’s punk on later albums, there are moments, like the outro of the sweetly crunchy “Saturday,” when he flexes his falsetto. “I know I’m not your favorite record/But the songs you grow to like never stick at first,” Stump yelps on the speedy “Dead on Arrival.” But the urgency of Take This to Your Grave makes each of its songs an instant-release megadose of pop-punk euphoria—and the way that the brightly hued yet regret-wracked “Grand Theft Autumn/Where Is Your Boy” and “Saturday” remain in the band’s live repertoire some 20 years after their release shows how early in their career they were crafting music with staying power.

Audio Extras

  • Fall Out Boy

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