Fall Out Boy is, without a doubt, a staple of the pop-punk scene of the early 2000s. During an era where this scene reigned supreme, this little band from Illinois managed to carve out a spot for themselves in the music industry and remain a huge part of it even twenty years later. With Patrick Stump on vocals and rhythm guitar, Pete Wentz as bassist and primary lyricist, Joe Trohman on lead guitar, and Andy Hurley on drums Fall Out Boy have always been known for their catchy songs and clever lyrics. They have also made a point of growing and experimenting with their sound with each album they put out.
Fall Out Boy started to gain traction with their 2003 debut album, Take This to Your Grave. The album became an influential blueprint for pop-punk music and is often heralded as one of the greatest pop-punk albums of all time. Take This to Your Grave also gave the band material to tour with, and its underground success gave them a dedicated fan base.
In 2005, they released their second album, From Under the Cork Tree, which catapulted the band to stardom. The album’s two big hits, “Sugar, We’re Goin Down” and “Dance, Dance,” helped land them on the Billboard 200 and the Billboard Hot 100 charts. The album and singles won several awards and saw them nominated for their first Grammy for Best New Artist in 2006. They would go on to get their second Grammy nomination for Best Rock Album for Mania in 2018.
Their third album, Infinity on High, was released in 2007 and gave the band even more hits and accolades, most notably with the songs “This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race” and “Thnks fr th Mmrs.” The band followed up with their fourth album, Folie á Deux, in 2008, and although the album was less commercially successful than their last album, it’s safe to say that many fans now regard it as a favorite. Notable singles from the album “I Don’t Care” and “America’s Suitehearts” helped it chart.
Following the release of Folie á Deux and a greatest hits compilation, Believers Never Die – Greatest Hits, the guys decided to take a break, putting the band on hiatus from late 2009 until 2012. While fans were unsure of the likelihood that Fall Out Boy would ever play music together again, the break allowed the guys to explore individual interests and side projects while decompressing from their experiences during the last eight years as a band.
Fall Out Boy would reconvene in 2012, secretly writing for and recording their comeback album, Save Rock and Roll. Their fifth album was released in 2013 and quickly charted, led by the first single, “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up).” The band also released a music video for every song on the album that would tie together to tell one story titled The Youngblood Chronicles – which I highly recommend you check out. In 2015, they released American Beauty/American Psycho, their sixth album. Popular singles from that album included “Centuries,” “Uma Thurman,” as well as the song “Immortals” that was written and recorded for Disney’s Big Hero 6 film. Their seventh album, Mania, was released in 2018 with “Young and Menace” and “Champion” as the first two singles.
With such a long music career, it’s no surprise that Fall Out Boy also has an extensive tracklist of b-sides and rarities that some fans might not be all that familiar with. Many of these lesser-known songs have ended up on the special edition versions of existing albums as bonus tracks, some pop up on EPs, a few have found their way onto Greatest Hits collections, and many of them take a bit of digging to find online and live mainly through fans sharing them. While the band has garnered numerous popular hits for fans to choose from, it’s important to note that their rarities are often just as good. Here’s the list of my favorite lesser-known Fall Out Boy songs.
“Pavlove” is easily one of my most favorites of the Fall Out Boy b-sides. Recorded during the Folie á Deux era, this hypnotic and catchy song surprisingly didn’t make it onto the album. This travesty would be somewhat rectified later on when included in the CD Deluxe Edition of Folie á Deux as a bonus track, though this special edition CD is a little hard to find now.
“It’s Not a Side Effect of the Cocaine, I Am Thinking It Must Be Love”
While Fall Out Boy is solid together as a full band, they can also rock an acoustic song. “It’s Not a Side Effect of the Cocaine, I Am Thinking It Must Be Love” is just one of the stunning tracks on the aptly titled, My Heart Will Always Be the B-Side to My TongueEP that features an acoustic guitar and Stump’s melodic vocals. This rare love song from the band is my favorite from the five-song EP, and it’s one that I think any fan will appreciate. The EP was released in 2004 while Fall Out Boy recorded From Under the Cork Tree, and the lyrics to the three new original songs (one of which would also appear on From Under the Cork Tree as a full band recording) fit the feel of the band’s sophomore studio album. Also, this little EP debuted at #153 on the Billboard 200, which was the first time Fall Out Boy was placed on the chart (From Under the Cork Tree would debut at #9 on the same chart shortly after). The album also included a bonus DVD and, even now, isn’t too hard to find.
“Snitches and Talkers Get Stitches and Walkers”
With each album that Fall Out Boy releases, one thing is sure; it never sounds like its predecessors. This bonus track from the Black Clouds and Underdogs edition of From Under the Cork Tree is a rare song that sounds like it could have been on the previous album. This fast-paced and lyrically harsh song is reminiscent of the sound of Take This to Your Grave, which in hindsight, is most likely the reason why it didn’t make the cut for From Under the Cork Tree.
“Lake Effect Kid”
As part of the promotion for Folie á Deux in 2008, Fall Out Boy released this song as a demo on CitizensFOB Mixtape: Welcome to the New Administration. The mixtape also featured snippets of songs by Decaydance artists such as Cobra Starship, Gym Class Heroes, The Academy Is…, Panic! At the Disco, and others. Fall Out Boy re-recorded the song, and it ended up on the Lake Effect Kid EP. The title song is my favorite of the three, with a fun beat and lyrics about what Fall Out Boy loves most, Chicago.
While b-sides are fun little gems to find, every so often, there is one that you have to wonder why it didn’t make it onto an album. “Bob Dylan” is one of those songs. It was excluded from American Beauty/American Psycho in 2015. It would eventually see the light of day in 2019 when it was included on the Greatest Hits: Believers Never Die – Volume Two album. It’s a classic-sounding Fall Out Boy track that would have easily fit in with the other songs on the album it was left out of. Guitarist Joe Trohman felt similarly when he spoke up about using this song. He told Kerrang, “I was like, ’You guys are fucking idiots for not using this song.’ I’m happy now. Less that I got my way, because I don’t really push hard, but because it’s coming out. I always hated the culture in this band that we would have cool B‑sides and leftover songs that we would do nothing with. So I’m glad I spoke up. Maybe I should speak up more often…” I’m glad he spoke up as well because “Bob Dylan” can at least be heard on an album, and there’s even a neat music video to go along with it.
“Hand of God”
This is one of those songs that lived through the online sharing of an mp3 back in the day. I don’t have a clear memory of how or why it was leaked, but as far as I know, it was a demo from the From Under the Cork Tree sessions that got scrapped and appeared circa 2007. In true Wentz fashion, the lyrics are a bit dark, focusing on what it’s like to tour in a band and losing friends and home in the process.
“The Music or The Misery”
Another demo from the From Under the Cork Tree era, “The Music or The Misery,” later became a bonus track on a special edition of the album. It’s a solid pop-punk tune that is classic Fall Out Boy and absolutely fits the sound of Cork Tree. It’s also yet another song that should have made the cut to be on the album. Stump once stated via Twitter that he wished it had been on the album instead of “I’ve Got a Dark Alley And a Bad Idea That Says You Should Shut Your Mouth (Summer Song)” and “Champagne For My Real Friends, Real Pain For My Sham Friends.”
Another bonus track included later on the album was originally cut from “G.I.N.A.S.F.S.” can be found on re-releases of Infinity on High. Standing for ‘Gay Is Not a Synonym For Shitty,’ Wentz felt it was important to use language that was not offensive to other people, thus discouraging the flippant use of the word. It’s also just a great song. Infectious guitars, emotional lyrics, and Stump’s soulful vocals combine to create a catchy sort of love song.
Way back in 2002, before Take This to Your Grave, Fall Out Boy recorded a mini-LP titled Evening Out With Your Girlfriend. The band was unhappy with the album and decided against calling it their debut. However, it was released in 2003 through Uprising Records, against the band’s wishes, and the 2005 re-release happened with zero band involvement. Regardless, Evening has become sort of a cult classic album among fans. An early version of “Calm Before the Storm” is on the album (which would later be re-recorded for Take This to Your Grave), and my recommended song, “Growing Up,” was part of the Project Rocket/Fall Out Boy split EP and would later appear on the Believers Never Die- Greatest Hits album. Part of the song can also be heard in the reprise of past Fall Out Boy songs on “What a Catch, Donnie” from the Folie á Deux album.
“Hot To the Touch, Cold On the Inside”
Finishing up my list is a song from an EP that you might at least be vaguely familiar with. This one comes from Pax AM Days, an EP that was released in 2013 shortly after Save Rock and Roll. It was released on CD, digitally, on a limited edition 7″ vinyl, and a Save Rock and Roll Pax AM Edition double-disc reissue. The entire eight-song EP only adds up to just over 13 minutes of music, and the songs are a strong departure from Fall Out Boys’ usual sound. Influenced by ’80s and ’90s punk and hardcore, the songs are gritty, fast, and straightforward. Don’t expect the often intricate lyricism that the band is known for, but instead, enjoy the album as they meant for it to be, a fun and messy departure from the norm and a way to release aggression. I chose “Hot to the Touch, Cold On the Inside” as a must-hear because it’s a good, fast-paced anthem that showcases a bit of grit to Stump’s vocals. Also, it’s about Hot Pockets.
Fall Out Boy is still busy, currently co-headlining their summer stadium tour, Hella Mega, with Green Day and Weezer. The band released the single “Dear Future Self (Hands Up)” that featured Wyclef Jean in 2019 to help promote the Hella Mega Tour that was meant to take place in 2020. Some tickets for the tour are still available, and you can check out the website here to see if it’s coming to a city near you!
Meanwhile, we patiently await new music from the band, and hopefully even more b-sides and rarities that maybe didn’t make the cut for past albums. In the meantime, let us know what your favorite Fall Out Boy b-sides are that didn’t make it on our list.