Take This to Your Grave
Chicago’s Fall Out Boy built enough of buzz by the time Take This to Your Grave was being recorded that funding and support for the band came from both a major label and an indie label, with the major winning the contract for future records. Once Take This... hit the charts and had legions of young emo-punks singing along and posting on web sites about how the band saves lives, its future was clear. Where young lyricist Pete Wentz came up with the insights and clever wordplay, riffing on everything from romantic angst to personal doubt, is hard to fathom. But the intersection of his writing skills and the band’s ability to strike a balance between melodic and abrasive produced a winner. Hints of hardcore and street sassy permeate the songs, with punchy, frugal guitars driving vocalist Patrick Stump’s voice amid some truly striking harmonies. Killer singles “Dead On Arrival,” with its Green Day overtones, and “Grand Theft Autumn” — where drummer Andy Hurley’s spot-on target practice and the dueling guitars of Patrick Stump and Joe Trohman really shine — laid the groundwork for the band’s major label debut in 2005, and put the band at the top of the emo-punk-pop pyramid.