2005 was such an important year for the pop-punk genre. The year of smudged eyeliner, striped gloves, and more colours in an emo kid’s hair than in a rainbow. It also brought one of the most important albums in the genre: Fall Out Boy’s ‘From Under The Cork Tree’.
Bringing together themes of heartbreak, jealousy and depression, it can come across as stereotypical for the “emo” scene – and that may be true – but the strength and longevity of this record is what makes it a favourite among fans to this day; old and new, younger or more mature. Putting it on for a spin in 2019 will spark the same reactions as it would all those years back – guaranteed!
“it’s standing strong, resilient, fearless”
Most of the credit goes to the collaborative relationship between frontman Patrick Stump and bassist Pete Wentz. Putting together Stump’s talent of forming melodies and beats with the drop of a fedora and Wentz’s talent of writing meaningful and truthful verses and stanzas, ‘Cork Tree’ is the result of passion and prose. It’s accurate to say that the band have evolved greatly since this record hit the shelves, but the chemistry never faded and will forever be a winning formula. ‘Cork Tree’ was the start of something beautiful and the music industry wasn’t prepared.
Breakout singles such as ‘Sugar We’re Goin Down’ and ‘Dance Dance’ have helped ‘Cork Tree’ stand that tough test of time – but it’s standing strong, resilient, fearless. To this day, ‘Sugar’ stands as one of the key soundtrack songs of the 2000s, and no one can forget how it was accompanied by a heartwarming visual of love, acceptance, and deers. However, it was the non-single tracks that caught the attention of fans, where the themes became darker and hitting closer to home for hundreds and thousands of listeners around the world.
“It was never the start of a decline – it was the start of an incline.”
One of which is the semi-biographical song ‘7 Minutes in Heaven (Atavan Halen)’, written by Wentz during a period in his life where he was struggling with life, love, newfound fame and keeping his own emotions in balance. It’s a story that never grows old or becomes less powerful, as many struggle with mental illness every day, everywhere, and they always look for somewhere to turn to. Someone who understands. It may sound over the top, but Pete Wentz became a saving grace for many young listeners who felt different, like they never belonged, and believed the world was better off without them.
As notable as the raw emotion and feeling is in this record, is the art and pop culture that is threaded through it. Referencing classic movies such as Lost Boys and Dirty Dancing, it shows that there is an air about it. A respect for what came before it, and honouring Hollywood for what it was: cheesy lines and vampires.
Oh the vampires.
‘Cork Tree’ will forever be held as an album for the ages. Whether it’s for dealing with mental illness and depression in such a unique yet understandable way, or for making kids get up and dance and mosh wildly when they would be standing with their backs against the wall and wishing they were somewhere else. Where music videos with school proms, deer-human hybrids and a vampire-hating vampire can somehow be captivating and entertaining without sounding cliche or confusing. This was Fall Out Boy rising to fame, and will be their peak in the mainstream’s eye – but truth is, as time flew by, ‘Cork Tree’ has been established as simply the start of a long, winding, bending road where there is no end in sight.
It was never the start of a decline – it was the start of an incline.