Every previously emo or scene kid—and anyone who was friends with them—is familiar with Fall Out Boy’s second album From Under the Cork Tree. In fact, this album has come to be, almost universally known as the go-to emo soundtrack. It’s impossible to listen to the catchy, classic tunes such as “Dance, Dance,” or “Sugar, We’re Going Down” and not be transported back to the awkward years of junior high or high school, and despite the embarrassing moments everyone experienced back in 2005, the album also brings back a happy nostalgia.
Released May 3, 2005, From Under the Cork Tree brought a breakthrough success to the band, earning Fall Out Boy their first top ten ranking album on Billboard Charts. Cork Tree secured its spot as FOB’s longest charting, as well as best-selling album, however success did not come so easily for some members of the band.
In February of 2005, bassist and lyricist, Pete Wentz, was overcome with anxiety regarding releasing a second album and nearly overdosed on Ativan anxiety medication after an emotional breakdown. “It was overwhelming,” said Wentz after his failed suicide attempt. “I was either totally anxious or totally depressed. It is particularly overwhelming when you are on the cusp of doing something very big and thinking that it will be a big flop. I was racked with self-doubt.”
The conflicting, anxiety ridden emotions Wentz experienced leading up to his suicide attempt are captured through the rather obviously titled song, “Sophomore Slump Or Comeback Of The Year.” Throughout the song, we can see the struggle within Wentz leading up to the album’s release as he continually expresses how the success or failure of the band’s career rests almost solely on this album. Listening to this song, one can almost hear the anxiety in the lyrics “Are we growing up, or just going down? It’s a matter of time until we’re all found out.”
The astounding success Fall Out Boy has accomplished since the release of From Under the Cork Tree has not gone unnoticed and is constantly credited to the band’s loyal and devotional fans. Wentz’s openness of his own battles with anxiety and depression has allowed fans to relate to the songs and connect with individuals whose stories are similar to their own. “I think – especially in America – that people don’t realize it’s OK to feel down and sad sometimes. It is part of the cycle of feeling OK. Sometimes it’s hard to look into the mirror and be OK with the person looking back,” said Wentz. Through this type of connection, FOB has gained an incredible fan base that is dedicated to the continuing success of the band that has changed numerous of individuals’ lives.
“There is an honesty in our music and I think people appreciate it,” said Wentz. “We have never dumbed down to teenagers by writing songs about being in high school and having your locker jammed. We have been thoroughly honest about what out intentions are. We have always written what we are really feeling. We have always had the respect that they are going to figure out these songs for themselves and come up with their own interpretations.”
Review By: Deni Balak