This first impression was originally posted as a live blog for supporters in our forums on April 21st, 2017. First impressions are meant to be quick, fun, initial impressions on an album or release as I listen to it for the first time. It’s a running commentary written while listening to an album — not a review. More like a diary of thoughts. This post has been lightly edited for structure and flow.
I’ve done zero “single song” first listen threads, but if I was going to do one … I feel like Fall Out Boy are the band I should do it for. They’re about as big a band as we have from the music scene and they’ve got a pretty good following here still, so it just makes sense. Gotta give the people what they want!
I watched some basketball, and then got some work finished, so I’ve got a few minutes before I call it a night and go watch some Spider-Man cartoons and have a beer in bed. Not a bad Friday night.
Ok. So, few thoughts:
- I’ve played the song about 6-8 times already, I’m gonna play it a couple right now and write up some thoughts on it. Once the first time through, then pause and write a little, and then some closing thoughts. So it won’t be a super long thread, but it should be fun.
- As always I reserve the right to change my mind later, this isn’t a review, it’s just me kinda talking aloud as I listen to music and think about things and share thoughts and how it sounds.
My first impression:
The first time I hit play I was not even remotely expecting this song. It kinda comes out of nowhere, and it’s — like pretty much every Fall Out Boy single — going to be incredibly polarizing. I think a lot of people are going to flat out hate it. There’s going to be a lot of “horrible” and “this band just isn’t for me” and “what happened to FOB” posts … because it goes in a very different direction. It’s like taking the weirdness and stuff about AB/AP that people despised and turning it up to 100.
My first listen contained me going, “well, that’s different,” and a lot of “but damn there’s just always something about FOB that grabs me and wins me over” … and this song is no different. I find myself humming along already to a few parts, and even the chorus … oh that chorus … has grown on me. I like the song. But I like FOB, I like that they give no shits and will try all sorts of stuff now, and I think they’ve had an absolutely fascinating career. They’ve kept trying new things, kept pushing themselves into new genres and styles, and that alone keeps me interested. If Blink and NFG released really good, yet safe, albums … Fall Out Boy are not playing it safe.
Ok, so here’s a live listen blog … feel free to hit me up with questions and I’ll do my best to answer them.
Young and Menace
10:46pmThe track starts very slow … soft … and with these silky smooth Patrick vocals coming in with, “we’ve gone way too fast, for way too long …” there’s a little doubling of the vocal with Patrick singing low (which I love) behind the line.
10:48pmAnd then a back beat fades in, and the little doubling of the vocals becomes more pronounced over … “I’ve lived so much life that I think that God’s gonna have to kill me twice” … which seems pretty vintage Wentz right there.
10:49pmNikki Sixx shoutout? Weird.
10:49pmBeat keeps building, and then we get a great little pre-chorus. I think this is my favorite part of the song. Patrick has a way of annunciating and finding a vocal melody that you don’t quite expect but somehow works perfectly. He’s done that again right here …
“Oops, I, did it again, I, forgot what I was … losing my mind about.”
10:50pmIt’s the little “Headfirst Slide” or lower register Patrick vocal technique that I’ve always loved.
“I only wrote this down to make you press rewind … and send a message I was … YOUNG AND A MENACE”
10:58pmPatrick starts raising the pace and his vocals throughout the line … and as “Young and a Menace” comes ….
… it drops into a full out electronic/dubstepy/weird-ass-sound chorus of chaos.
The vocals go to full on Chipmunk pitch, just pulled WAYYYYYYYYYYYYY fucking up there, and they repeat “young and a menace” over, over, over, and over. And the music is as electronic and out there as anything they’ve ever done. There’s strong drums in it, and it’s undeniably pretty damn catchy … and my first thought was …. wait what the fuck is this what just happened … wait … what!?
… and then it’s straight back into soulful, slow, and pretty Patrick vocals …
11:04pmSo, that chorus right there is what people are going to lose their minds over. The rest of the song itself isn’t that far out there all in all from things they’ve done in the past, almost ballad-like in a few ways, but that electronic concoction of a chorus is going to be all anyone wants to talk about.
Now, I like electronic pop music, and my first thought was … well, what the fuck … and that has been replaced over a bunch of listens with … “I don’t hate that” … and I … I actually think I like it. In the weirdest way I’m drawn to it. The vocal pitch correction is grating, the beat starts and stops, and yet … I think I like it.
But people are going to fucking hate it. Especially anyone that wants pop-punk Fall Out Boy. And I kinda love that they’re releasing something like this as the first song for a new album because, hell, why wouldn’t you do that if you’re FOB?
If you thought the indie-blogs lost their minds on their past work, or the Ghostbusters song … lol … I don’t think we’ve seen anything yet.
Zack Morris: OK time in.
11:05pmNice vocal run from Patrick.
Seriously love the little pre-chorus part.
11:07pmSome Fans: I hated “AB/AP’s” weird ass sounds and chorus and don’t know what this mess is.
FOB: LEEEEEEEEERRROOOOOOOYYYYYYY JENNNNNNKINSSSSSSS.
11:08pmThe bridge is Patrick in a spacey, slow, lusty deep.
At first I wasn’t sure it was Patrick doing all the vocals here, but I after listening multiple times, I am pretty sure they’re just layering him a fuck ton.
“I’m just here for the … for the …” here’s some drums for you “… YOUNG AND A MENANCEKZJJZYZAKSJKJKZ”
11:09pmElectronic record scratch.
… and we end back to the opening line.
11:12pmOk, so what do we have? We’ve got a single that I think might be the most polarizing song the band’s ever released. It zigs in a way even I didn’t expect in that chorus. It’s out there. Usually they grab something in the chorus that sounds made for radio, and, I dunno, I could see pop-radio maybe grabbing this … but it doesn’t have the same undeniable “hit” that something like “Centuries” or “Uma” did when I heard them. It feels very much like a lead into an album that may have a different “hit” on it, and this is the “yeah, get ready we’re throwing the book out get ready” kind of song.
11:15pmI’ve spent a lot more time trying to really suss out if I like this song than I usually do. A lot of times I’ll have a pretty immediate reaction and then more listens moves me one way or another … this one has been oddly all over the place. There’s times where I can’t actually believe it’s FOB, and times where I hit repeat and turn the volume up even louder.
11:20pmI think more than the song itself, I’m drawn to the fact that this band wrote it. I can’t think of any, ANY pop-punk bands currently making music that in 10 years would release something like this. That would keep moving their career and sound in fucking strange places while still being popular, pop, and capable of going from garage guitar band that sounds like Midtown to a chorus that could be played at an EDM dance club. Haha. I’m just flat out fascinated by this move, by this career, and where the band’s gone.
(And a huge part of me just loves that they didn’t keep writing pop-punk songs. That they’re not that band. And love them or hate them for what they’ve done, become, and keep doing, they’re not boring. Would I have been fine with the NFG/Blink version of FOB right now? A song that makes me happy and brings me back to the early 2000s? Sure. I woulda listened and enjoyed and that’s great. But it wouldn’t make me question shit. It wouldn’t make me think about the band’s career, the context of their entire musical output, and their clear hubris to forge whatever path they want with their music.)
11:21pmIn my SRAR review I made a comment about how they coulda “called it a payday” and just done the same old shit again and again … and they could … I think they would have had a fine career doing that … but … I dunno … this is just so much more interesting to me. So much more fun.
11:22pmI love that people hate what they release at first. That it’s almost a trend now to NOT like the band’s new material only for four years later so many people pointing at some of the songs like “this is a favorite” “no this one is” … and that from like “I Don’t Care” onward the band has basically released a polarizing first single with every album.
At this point I have basically no idea where this album is going to go, but I’m totally down for it. I’m intrigued.
11:30pmAnd, I do like this song, it took some time for me to go between, I like it, I think I like it, I like it, I may even really like it in time … and I know when I don’t like a FOB song (like “The Mighty Fall”) … and it was never even close to that category. Instead it was … getting the shower and expecting a specific temperature and being thrown completely off by someone messing with the dial.
I’m sure I’ll have more thoughts in the near future.
Feel free to ask questions or whatever if anything comes up.
I’m curious what people will think next Friday. I am bracing for a very negative reaction. Which 1) I get, and 2) I really hope people give it some time and don’t give up on it immediately.
11:41pmMight be the most I’ve ever written about one song. I think it’s Spider-Man cartoons in bed time.