Fall Out Boy – How To Make A Comeback Record In 2013
Making a “comeback record”, especially these days, is an interesting thing. There’s a real science behind it. You’re talking about taking a band that was once popular, trying to stay true to their roots, but re-facing them to fit in amongst newer audiences. It takes everything from the support of radio stations and reputable media outlets to a precisely timed online campaign and a strategically hand picked debut single.
For a band like Fall Out Boy, their latest record Save Rock and Roll, which is their first in 5 years and is officially out today, sees them at a real crucial crossroads. Coming from the pop-punk era of the early 2000’s, they had the benefit of being able to use their previous success as a tool to weave their way back into mainstream media, but the onus was still on them to realize where music is at today.
This new Fall Out Boy record had to be done right. It had to be characteristically FOB, but it also had to appeal to the current tastes of the popular market. So what did they do? They took a look at what is most popular today (Hip-Hop) and they adapted the model to suit their needs. They set the tone by involving rapper 2 Chainz on their debut single (a riff heavy rock song with a booming radio ready Hip-Hop backbone) and they came out of the gates strong. What the rest of the record sounds like matters less, although it very smartly features everyone from Elton John to Courtney Love.
It’s a pretty perfect scenario for this particular band. I mean, Pete Wentz has always very openly referenced Lil Wayne as a primary influence on Fall Out Boy’s earlier work so it’s not so far outside of what they do, but the fact that the popular sound of the day is so heavily Hip-Hop oriented, if there was ever a band to do it they’re certainly the one.
When people talk about the relationship between music and good timing this is exactly what they mean. It’s not always something you foresee, sometimes it’s something that takes shape around you at which point you either seize the opportunity or you don’t.
Making this kind of record really ensured that Fall Out Boy’s sound was going to appear fresh, that they were going to be at least semi-relevant in rock again, and it ensured radio airplay on crossover channels. These days, and especially for bands in their position––bands that have already proven themselves and had success early on in their careers––it’s no longer just about your rock radio credibility, it’s about getting as much airplay as you can on as many channels as will take you because none of these bands are bigger or bader than the state of the industry.
And lastly, giving the record a ridiculous name like Save Rock and Roll. I mean whether you hate them for it cause you think they’re being so bold as to suggest they can or don’t care one way or the other, it’s a great album title for a comeback record in 2013. They knew people were going to get all personally offended and talk about it, which is great promotion for them, and ultimately it’s a statement cause God knows the music needs saving.