#8: remembering the awesomeness of Fall Out Boy’s “From Under the Cork Tree”

Wow. It’s been a few days. Kind of like the last time Fall Out Boy had any relevancy. Zing. That’s how we did it in the Holocaust, son.

There was a time, and I believe many people of my age went through this, when pop-punk was the greatest musical invention ever created. Why I believe many people my age went through this is because my friend The Guy, as of the last time I checked, still loved pop-punk and there has to be a reason that the Warped Tour was such a big deal, at least once upon a time. Is it still a big deal? I have no idea. My relationship with such things has dwindled drastically the older I get–unlike The Guy (and, Guy, if this is no longer true, I shall still not apologize because in my mind you are still rocking out to various Drive-Thru bands or whatever). Anyway, without argument, the pinnacle of pop-punk, in all of its conflicted glory, is From Under the Cork Tree.

The Break-Down:

1. ‘Pop and Punk’ – As a youth, I was very determined to discover the essence of ‘authentic’ punk. With a multi-year subscription to Thrasher magazine, JNCO jeans, and a Zoo York skateboard, I was confident in my ability to distill it down to something that could not only be defined, but properly lived. However, I was held back slightly by an attachment to pop music and culture in general. I’m fairly certain no punk rawker would know all the words to Soul For Real’s ‘Candy Rain.’ Nor who Heavy D and his Boys were, as the producer of this Jackson 5 spawn/clone. [insert side rant: I have no idea how to write about music without writing about myself. I see this as both a truth of what music means–it’s highly personal and memory forming, and, therefore, can only be written in reference to the self, as well as obviously narcissistic, in that it may be impossible for me to separate the two things from each other, OR, in fact, it is impossible for me to write such things without the central character of ‘I’ being involved, as in, I constantly see myself as the vehicle for which all of these things occur, thereby making music no longer music, but an extension of myself that I hope, to some degree, becomes shared (why else write anything, after all?) and with such sharing the ‘I’ no longer becomes ‘me,’ but in fact becomes far more generic and therefore the discussion of the music is, in some fashion, a type of criticism that just so happens to indulge my personal relationships with said music. Or, perhaps, I just suffer from lack of real critique and have read far too much Bill Simmons.]
Anyway, defining punk had everything to do with being a screwed up, hormonal teenager. Such definition held within it a type of safety: a knowledge of self, even if that ‘knowledge’ was crafted directly out of a fictional (that’s not really the proper word–less ‘fictional,’ more like ‘fluid and constructed cultural understanding’) definition of a cultural movement that few people could ever agree on its meaning. Even the history of punk was debated, as in, where did it start, who started it, things I had no actual interest in but felt I had to at least feign some sort of investment–MC5 was first, goddammit! White Panther Party, whatup! Kick out the motherfucking jams! (wow, that whole aside is such a lie. I began that construction of punk rock later in college when I began seriously studying the Civil Rights Era, so the past is coalescing in such a way that I’m recreating my own history, and am, thus, making myself highly suspect)–and how is it possible to craft a self out of a feigned definition?

It’s time here for me to interject with an important notice: I started this post in October. It is now nearly February. I have not been able to think of anything to write once i finished the above paragraph. Therefore, in an attempt to pretend that I have, in some fashion, ended this post, I will now continue by making random observations while the Patriots and Ravens battle it out in the AFC Championship game. Perhaps at some point during this collection of meaninglessness, the original point will come back to me. If not, I blame Joe Flacco.

#1. I hate the Ravens. But here’s what is stupid about that statement: it’s rather impossible to hate an entity like a sports team. I mean, I do it, and I do it with fervor. But the Ravens don’t even exist, and I don’t mean in some existential way or some shit or I guess I do, but I’m not trying to use stoner philosophy here. What I mean is, the Ravens are, in fact, a group of humans, and as a group they attempt to form a specific thing: a football team. However, I arbitrarily hate the team regardless of who is on it [an important sidenote, though, is the fact that I really despise Ray Lewis, and I despise the fact that he’s worshipped by “experts” with a god-like reverence usually reserved for people who haven’t participated in murder. Also, you will never convince me that he hasn’t used steroids or HGH, and I recognize the reaction to such a statement is to say I claim this because I despise him, yet I also think the same thing about James Harrison of my beloved Steelers (Hi, I’m James Harrison, I’m 30 and suddenly a demonic beast and defensive MVP. Also, I have no idea how to tackle, but I can hit people like a truck, and as a response for my lack of fundamentals, Roger Goodell is the devil {which, to some degree, I agree with, especially the farce that is ‘player safety’ while doing everything in his power to add two games to the season solely to make more money for the biggest money making sport in the US})]. What I mean is, I’m actually hating something that is in constant flux–roster changes, coaching changes, etc.–and because it is in constant flux, it is never actually a single thing, which means my hatred is something that never actually formulates real hatred because the Ravens have never existed as an entity or thing or whatever that I, the hater, did not attribute to them. For me, their existence is predicated on my hating them, which obviously is not true, because there they are on the field, right now, live, beating the Patriots [goddammit], but should the Ravens move immediately following the season ending, not only would I hate the new version of the Ravens, I would still hate the old version. I would have reasons for hating the old team who now exists only in memory [Ray Lewis] and as such, they don’t actually exist, in terms of being on the receiving end of my hatred. Still, Tom Brady better get his shit together because if I have to watch Ray Lewis dance during his entrance at the Super Bowl after spending two weeks everyone talking about how important this is to him and how it cements his Hall of Fame-ness and how maybe this will be the season he retires and how, hey, killing two people is all right as long you can still tackle people and there’s no reason to be suspicious of a guy who’s been in the league for like 14 years and who hasn’t gotten slower and anything as he gets older, well, if all that happens, I’ll probably sit on my couch feeling defeated by the world and seething with the hatred that doesn’t actually have anywhere to go.

#2. G. and I have been watching How I Met Your Mother quite a bit on Netflix. And by quite a bit I mean that we have basically been binge drinking the show. Things I think about said show include the following: why do they have some random ass ‘themed’ shows, like the one about how each of the smoke, even though at no point previous has there been an idication that they do smoke, so it comes off like a really, really bad anti-smoking ad that happens to involve people from the show; why the hell would anyone date Ted, which is something that may hinder my ability to fully understand the show considering that is the central point of the show–but, seriously, what are his redeeming qualities? He’s somehow both desperately needy with the women he dates AND a douche who leaves them for supposedly romantic reasons of them not being ‘the one;’ we are seriously supposed to believe the following [and yes, a sentence that had a colon already is having another]: Ted is handed, HANDED, a tenure-track teaching job at Columbia, and Robin dates both Ted and Barney and they all still hang out as if it isn’t weird except when they mention that it’s weird, but nothing is ever awkward; Marshall is the best; the most impressive thing the writing staff has done so far is make sure Barney, as a rather one-dimensional and, objectively speaking, an annoying dude with terrible catch phrases, has not worn out his welcome as a character. Granted, I’m only a few seasons in, but when you have someone who’s entire existence is predicated on being shallow to the point of frustration, it’s impressive to avoid that whole viewer frustration thing;  and, honestly, I’ve completely lost my train of thought on this.

#3. Commercials have reached an epic level of uselessness. I’m confident there is not better barometer for the state of our society than commercials. And soon the presidential ads will begin running, which means not only will we have commercials that showcase the strangeness of our society [heavy leaning on total nonsense as a way to entertain, irony for the sake of nothing, humor as a communication tool, not an actual function, etc.], we will also get commercials directly stating what is wrong with our society and who is to blame. Commercially, this upcoming time will somehow be both the most honest and the most contradictory we have ever known. And it will also somehow not involve the Super Bowl. By the way, as a prediction, there is no way Newt Gingrich beats Obama in an election. If Republicans want to win the White House, Mitt Romney is their only chance because it will be easier to sell him as at least as good looking as Obama, which, no matter what your politics, is the single most important factor aside from height. Consider who you want to see on television talking to some other head of state; it sure as hell isn’t a dude named Newt.

#4. Thank you Ravens kicker for missing that field goal.

#5. I have nothing at the moment, but 5 is my favorite number, and I really couldn’t end it on 4. Unimportant, unrelated note to everything: I drink Fiji water; they should sponsor me and this blog. It also appears that I will have to pick up the thread of the original intent at some later time, and by later time I mean, it’s probably never going to happen. You’re just going to have to have faith about the awesomeness of “Cork Tree.” And if you disagree, you’re wrong.

4 thoughts on “#8: remembering the awesomeness of Fall Out Boy’s “From Under the Cork Tree”

  1. Well, I do still worship at the altar of pop-punk but more in the vein of the Queers, the Copyrights, the Ergs!, Teenage Bottlerocket. Some have called that Ramonescore, which ridiculous genre names is probably a topic worth tackling. However I do like some of the newer pop-punk bands like the Wonder Years and bands like that who could get lumped in with the Drive-Thru bands you wish I still listen to, but Drive-thru hasn’t existed in a long time I’m pretty sure. Oh and New Found Glory, as both an old Drive-Thru band and a pop punk band that I really like ties this up with a nice bow.

  2. I love you both (I hope The Guy doesn’t try shoving me in to a locker for expressing my feelings). And Joel this is crazy but I busted out Cork Tree the other night from the depths of my almost-dead iPod and instantly wanted to have a dance party at Indian Valley. (I wrote this as you had just written this even though I’m a month late)

  3. I didn’t realize anyone replied after my lengthy reply. Bly I love you as well. I will not shove you into any lockers, I learned that lesson a long time ago.

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