Pete Wentz is a genius

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It’s true… Pete Wentz is a genius. Or someone at Fall Out Boy camp has got it going on in their noggin.

A smattering of break-up rumors cropped up online, fresh on the heels of the Tuesday release of the band’s greatest hits album Believers Never Die. Take the NME tweet from just yesterday:

Fall Out Boy have split up, apparently.

And all it takes is less than 140 characters to set off a publicity marathon. And when sites like Contactmusic reconfigure quotes that have Pete Wentz blaming himself for the “demise” of Fall Out Boy, you know some kids are going to run to their local record big box store to pick up ten copies of the poorly-reviewed greatest hits album in remembrance of the band. (As a general aside, many of the reviews have said the album’s biggest fault is that it’s just a collection of previously record singles – which, last time I check, is what greatest hits albums are.)

Now, all of that hubub was basic hearsay. The band’s been fairly up front about going “on hiatus”/taking a break for a little while, but someone somewhere must have caused the commotion over the band the past couple of days. Truth be told, it probably wasn’t Pete Wentz, but there’s no doubt his Kerrang! interview sent rumor-mill-happy bloggers through the roof.

Still, this isn’t to distract from the fact that Wentz and co. are fairly smart players in the music game. When they just about seemed to be fading from the limelight, Wentz announced the death of the emo haircut onstage and practically shoved the band back into the spotlight clear as day. Frankly, this was a pretty smart move, not only considering their greatest hits album was months away from being released, but the new Twilight movie to boot.

Why are these two things related? When was the last time you heard someone incorrectly identify the Twilight series, characters and fans as “emo” just because of the amount of mascara that Edward character wears, or the fans’ penchant for black clothing? And exactly who helped re-focus emo fashion on, say, lopsided haircuts and black clothing? Pete Wentz. Though Wentz has little control over the My Chemical Romance guys, who cake their faces in “guyliner” and really are the band that marginalized emo from an ambiguous aesthetic into a Tim Burton-obsessed, neo-goth cliché, Wentz’s actions helped alleviate the fashion pressures on emo and helped people question the definition of the genre when some of its bigger second-wave acts (Sunny Day Real Estate and The Get Up Kids) were in the middle of reunion tours.

Beyond all the hype over hair and hiatuses, Wentz and co. knew what they were doing every step of the way. They took their headlining status with a sense of wonder most bands might scoff at. How many other Billboard bands would make their own version of the Oregon Trail or try to perform in Antarctica? They took advantage of a position few musicians or bands get in life, and ran with it.

And they could do that because of their own skills. Hell, the band roped Jay-Z, Babyface, Lil’ Wayne and Elvis Costello in for their most recent albums. Few other acts would even have the gall to do that. But, above all these things, Fall Out Boy’s genius might just be in the fact that they were able to make the double kick drum appealing to more 13-year-old girls than any metal act ever could. And that, my friends, is ingenious.


2 Comments Add Yours ↓

  1. Colin Horgan #

    You forgot how making widely ambiguous and nonsensical song titles (This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race? huh?) connect with 13-year old girls is also, cringingly, ingenious.

  2. Leor Galil #

    Absolutely true! David Foster Wallace would be proud… perhaps…

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