If, like most people, you discovered Fall Out boy about a decade ago, you probably did so via their videos. The band’s wicked sense of humour piggybacked on a genuine artistic vision, leading to some of the most iconic promos of the noughties. Yes, it was difficult to do, but we’ve whittled it down to just 10of these beauties for your retinal pleasure. Here you go…
10. Beat It (directed by Shane Drake, 2008)
Paying homage to Michael Jackson’s various videos, Beat It crawls into the list for several reasons. Firstly, guitarist Joe Trohman’s hair. For the shoot, his beastly afro was straightened. Why? We don’t know. But he wasn’t happy about it. Because it looks shit. Elsewhere, we have a karate class spearheaded by Tony Hale – that’s Buster from Arrested Development! – and vocalist Patrick Stump ripping his shirt open like it’s filled with hot coals and bird poo. Phwoar. Oh, and the whole thing, the whole bloody compilation of Jackson-themed shenanigans, turns out to be bassist Pete Wentz’s dream, who’s rudely awoken at the end. As it transpires, a few of the videos in this list finish with Pete realising it was all a dream. What can we say? The bloke has a lot of dreams. He wrote a book about them.
9. This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race (directed by Alan Ferguson, 2007)
A feast for the eyes – and not just because of drummer Andy Hurley’s button-bursting bulge – This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race is a reaction to Fall Out Boy’s ascension. It chronicles the time they recorded One And Only with Timbaland – Patrick does his best Joe Cocker here – and, amidst Playboy-style shenanigans and a funeral full of familiar faces from Fall Out Boy videos past, live footage of the band in some sort of dive bar/college gives you the most refreshing kick in the sternum. Yes, the video kind of contradicts itself, seemingly attacking the cult of celebrity while having Seth Green in the video. Yes, they were on a major label. And yes, they probably had enough money to build a boat with and sail to a desert island and create their own sovereign state. But even with all this at their feet, Fall Out Boy were still a savagely fun proposition live and in the studio.
8. The Carpal Tunnel of Love (directed by Kenn Navaro, 2007)
This makes the list for the Happy Tree Friends collaboration alone, but The Carpal Tunnel Of Love’s putrid promo taps into both the aforementioned TV show’s black humour as much as it does the band’s; they even make an appearance – as fluffy, adorable woodland creatures, nonetheless – while romance goes wrong around them and the body count rises. All the deaths are obscenely laughable, with Lumpy’s decapitation coming in second place, but first prize goes to Cuddles and Giggles finally sharing a snog at the end of their date. While impaled, through their faces, by a metal pole. Obviously.
7. Saturday (2003)
Before the celebrity cameos and adulterous chimpanzees; before the arena-busting tours and Pete’s private selfies; before all that stuff got in the way, there was Saturday. A standout track from the band’s proper debut, Take This To Your Grave, Saturday remains a staple of the Fall Out Boy setlist. The video, however, has aged dreadfully, kind of adding to its naïve charm – this is a band on the cusp of achieving something magnificent but not quite realising it yet. The low-budget short’s plot plays out like an episode of Criminal Minds directed by the Joker, with Pete murdering his bandmates and leaving a Queen of Hearts on their corpses, Patrick hot on his case; this performance, if anything, showcases Wentz’s wonderfully wooden acting. No, he’s not gotten any better over the following 13 years. He’s still this crap, and we love it.
6. The Take Over, The Breaks Over (directed by Alan Ferguson, 2007)
Everything’s in grayscale. Bones fall from the sky! No, this isn’t some extra-extravagant black metal shoot; Pete’s dog, Hemingway, is having the time of his life with all these bones, also being treated to our Patrick dressed as a steak. A slick contrast to the band’s earlier works – featuring a shiny car, breakdancers and women dressed as cats – seemingly on purpose, The Take Over, The Breaks Over addresses Fall Out Boy’s change in direction from the rawer punk stuff they did in the early noughties. Angry fans accost the group but Hemingway is the voice of reason, demanding that they “Give the boys a break. Everybody changes.” Imagine if the rest of the internet would listen to the wise woofs of Hemingway, right?
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5. I Don’t Care (directed by Alan Ferguson, 2008)
Taking on the slightly political bite of fourth album Folie à Deux, Fall Out Boy stage a faux-fascistic concert, claiming that the song is less about politics politics and more the politics of relationships and lurve. Wentz told us that the video is more band-based than their usual character-based antics, but Patrick’s shat all over that theory; he pinches a woman’s bottom during the video, but had to be given a pep-talk by Pete beforehand, so manky was the role he stepped into. Joe’s full-frontal flashing is a highlight, as is Andy performing an act we all secretly long to get away with: grabbing a child’s ice cream and smashing it into the ground. Gilby Clarke tearing off his face and revealing himself as a budget Sarah Palin is terrifying, mind.
4. A Little Less Sixteen Candles, A Little More “Touch Me” (directed by Alan Ferguson, 2006)
You like vampires, right? Of course you do, you like Fall Out Boy! With A Little Less Sixteen Candles, A Little More “Touch Me”, the band pay homage to dodgy flicks they have such an affinity with: The Lost Boys and Blade are heavily worshipped in the video as is, er, Sixteen Candles in the title. We’re sure a John Hughes-themed video would have been lovely and all that, but Pete biting people and the band basically kicking a sizeable chunk of undead arse gets a thumbs-up from us. And that bloody plot twist at the end! Who saw that coming?! Apart from, well, everyone? Panic! At The Disco’s Brendon Urie also briefly features, and he looks ridiculous.
3. Dance, Dance (directed by Alan Ferguson, 2005)
With Dance, Dance, Fall Out Boy ‘did a Korn’; the video got played on the telly so much, MTV Total Request Live had to put it to rest so other artists could, you know, actually stand half a chance. Were Dance, Dance to emerge in 2016, a similar fervour would surely sweep the entire planet seeing as so many classic Fall Out Boy moments are jammed into this clip. Patrick stands rigid as a girl grinds on him, soon switching gears to a fully-fledged windmill dance-routine; Pete’s attempt at crowdsurfing is a far cry from his hardcore punk background – even more so when he leads a select few, Revenge Of The Nerds style, into a synchronised dance in the middle of the hall. The jocks have lost and the nerds have won. Everyone seems to be kissing someone. What a winner.
2. The Young Blood Chronicles (directed by Adam Donald and Andrew Zaeh, 2014)
The hiatus had been swift, the band were back packing a completely new sound and, for the first time in a while, it felt like Fall Out Boy actually had something to prove. And prove they did – the reunion run was solid on its own, but The Young Blood Chronicles demonstrated the group’s dedication to their art, regardless of what form it may take; Save Rock & Roll runs in its entirety, serving as the soundtrack to a tale that, as the band have said before, conveys the “deceit within each of us that we have to uncover in the search for who we truly are.” Err, yeah. Anyway, it’s basically Fall Out Boy doing Supernatural through the eyes of Tarantino. There’s a lot of blood. Patrick gets his hand chopped off in the first few minutes. Pete still can’t act. Joe has a lovely time in Hell with Tommy Lee – who plays the Devil – and Andy quite valiantly refuses to partake in any drug-taking, booze-guzzling shenanigans throughout the 50-minute feature due to his straight edge lifestyle. So well done that man. Overall, The Young Blood Chronicles are essential viewing for any fan who may have lost faith in Fall Out Boy of late. Plus, Patrick gets kitted out with the coolest hook for a hand. And Elton John plays the part of God!
1. Irresistible (directed by Scantron and Mel Soria, 2015)
Regardless of what you make of the band’s post-reformation material, Irresistible’s video is firmly rooted in the playful antics of the past. Because Fall Out Boy are more popular now than they’ve ever been. They could’ve easily done the industry standard: ‘blokes in black clothes playing in a black room.’ But that’s just not Fall Out Boy’s game. Neither is basketball, apparently, but the band give it a bash anyway. Ridiculous explosions, internet references and, perhaps most satisfying of all, a nod to the band’s 2005 odyssey Bedussey are all present, but it’s the band’s sheer glee in this VHS-styled promo that truly lines the pants with piss. Joe’s wonderfully weird earthworm face – not bad, Joe. Patrick’s joy of (not) scoring, coupled with a look of sorrow as a basketball severs his hand. Andy locking eyes with a bloke across the court. And, well, just Pete in general. American Beauty/American Psycho may be lacking when it comes to exuberance on a musical level, but Irresistible ’s video is unshakable proof that Fall Out Boy have never been more visually engaged as a band. And, well, it’s just really, really funny.