Radioactive Man might need a new sidekick

(Yes, this is going to be one of those posts. Skip it if you like).

I wish I could express in more eloquent and meaningful words how much music affects my life. I think if you ask most people for a list of things they couldn’t live without, music would be on almost everyone’s list. Though the musicians change and everyone’s tastes differ, I think the euphoria of music flowing through a person is pretty universal.

A long, long time ago, in the year 1994 or perhaps 1995, I got my first CD: Hootie & the Blowfish’s “Cracked Rear View,” an album that I still regularly listen to. It was some point after then that I really started getting into music. I was mostly into country and pop, and the first (real) band I can remember calling my favorite is Matchbox Twenty, and then sometime shortly after, Creed.

I tried to pick out why I thought some bands were better than others, and I believed it came down to something like this:

1) Catchy songs.
2) Songs that people can relate to/rock out to/”feel.”
3) Singers with awesome voices.
4) Really interesting instruments/arrangement.

A song needs one of those to make someone really feel it, and all of those to be something really special. These will probably differ in importance from person to person. Number 2 is probably the most important to me, and number 4 would be the least important.

What really got my attention when I first heard Creed was that their lyrics were incredible. Something about that band just clicked, and I loved them.

Then, later down the road, June 4th, 2004 came, and Creed announced that they were breaking up. To say that I was upset would be an understatement; I was probably closer to heartbroken than that. If that sounds weird, then you’ve probably never really enjoyed music like I have.

There was a point where I’d make fun of bands for “sucking,” but I realized that the reasons I cited for them sucking didn’t make any sense except for one: when a single band has songs that factually sound the same, and even then, they can still put out a song that’s not half bad.

That was musical elitism stage, but nowadays, you’d be hard pressed to find me saying that any band sucks (except for Nickelback…and maybe Theory of a Deadman since they sound just like Nickelback). I realized that elitism in music is stupid. If you truly like music, then you can find things to appreciate in the way that any musician presents their art.

Because of that, I can say that I like and actively listen to more types of music than I even know how to list. Pop-punk, alternative rock, country, electro-pop, Japanese pop, elctro-hop, southern rock, electronica, pop, classical, and music from soundtracks that I don’t even know how to categorize by genre, just to name some off the top of my head (and without diving into deeper sub-genres).

I am writing all of this, because between yesterday and today, news has emerged that my second favorite band of all time has, in every sense except for the semantics, broken up.

I don’t really have the words to describe how I feel about it. There is no other band in the past four years that’s done for me what Fall Out Boy has, save for the exception of seeing Creed live at the NO Arena.

Fall Out Boy spoiled me in what to expect from music. You’ve heard jokes about them being emo or sucking; yeah, whatever, the lulelurah video was funny, but Fall Out Boy is more than wacky enunciation and Pete Wentz’s haircut. Their lyrics were extraordinary; not only were there cooly bizarre pop-culture references, but the lyrics were so cleverly crafted that they were damn near the point of being military-style tactical (“weapons in the form of words”). Some of their songs just amaze me; I simply cannot figure out how these words come to Pete.

Patrick’s voice is so unique that I confidently say that no other singer sounds like him. The way he enunciates words is simply incredibly, and that makes for insanely cool lyrics presented in an insanely cool way.

Every album Fall Out Boy put out from since From Under the Cork Tree was phenomenal, and their first real album, “Take This To Your Grave” was pretty good too.

I guess what I’m getting at is that I will miss Fall Out Boy, but I’m glad that I got to see them twice and that the last new song I heard from them was “From Now On We Are Enemies,” because it was definitely a good note to end on.

So, thanks for four great albums, guys. “Infinity on High” will always be one of my favorites. I hope this isn’t really the end, but I suspect that I’d be disappointed in hoping otherwise.



-Philip