An Album a Day: From Under the Cork Tree

January 15, From Under the Cork Tree by Fall Out Boy

Genre: Pop punk
Year: 2005
Runtime: 43:00
Total Number of Tracks: 13
Songs you might know:
– “Dance, Dance”
– “Sugar, We’re Going Down”
– “A Little Less Sixteen Candles, A Little More Touch Me”

 My prior relationship with this album: As far as Teenage Anne was concerned, From Under the Cork Tree was THE Fall Out Boy album. It boasts “Dance, Dance” and “Sugar, We’re Going Down” and like many of my generation, these are the songs that first introduced me to Fall Out Boy and made me want to know more. If there is such a thing as a “classic” Fall Out Boy album, I feel like it’s this one. It has a huge element of nostalgia for me, even though I still can’t remember a lot of the off-the-wall song titles.

My impressions this time around: While still sounding quite similar to Take This To Your Grave, From Under the Cork Tree trades a hint of angst for tasteful vulnerability (but still a fair share of angst though). The themes of sadness and self-pity are still here, but somehow come off a tad less angry and whiny. This whole album goes to show that you can write sad songs without making them slow ballads, even if there are a couple changes in tempo with songs like “I’ve Got a Dark Alley and a Bad Idea That Says You Should Shut Your Mouth (Summer Song)” and “Get Busy Living or Get Busy Dying (Do Your Part to Save the Scene and Stop Going to Shows)”. It’s still very much a rock album, but each song is charged full of real emotion rather than the more cliché lyrics of sex, drugs, and partying that are ubiquitous in other rock sub-genres.

I also feel like the lyrical genius of Pete Wentz really shines through here more so than Take This To Your Grave. Somehow Wentz is able to take the relatively common rock song topic of “I want to have sex with some girl who doesn’t want to have sex with me” and turn it into something deeper and more emotional. Yet at the same time, I wouldn’t label these cheesy love songs either. They’re that perfect ode to the awkward middle ground between love and horniness that is hormonally charged teenage lust. We start seeing the memorable one-liners that I’ve come to expect from Fall Out Boy such as:

– “Can I lay in your bed all day? I’ll be your best kept secret and your biggest mistake.” (“Nobody Puts Baby in the Corner”)
– “I’d burn the city down to show you the light” (“Sophomore Slump or Comeback of the Year”)
– “The Best Part of Believe is the Lie” (Sophomore Slump or Comeback of the Year”)

It’s that lyricism, along with Stump’s vocals that inject raw emotion into every track even though musically it’s still an upbeat rock album.

Who would enjoy it? Anyone who likes rock music and especially those who appreciate more intricate lyrics in their rock music.

* This post is part of a theme week, where I listened to all seven Fall Out Boy studio albums in one week. Check out my other reviews here:

– Take This to Your Grave
– Infinity on High
– Folie á Deux
– Save Rock And Roll
– American Beauty/American Psycho
– M A N I A

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