Opinion
By James Pavel

Fallout Boy lead singer Patrick Stump had a recent meltdown of nuclear proportions over his blog this past week, when he referred to himself as a “27-year-old has been.” The source of his misery is the commercial flop of his solo album “Soul Punk,” but also the ridicule that he experienced while touring his latest work.

Stump goes into detail over the ruthlessness of his supposed fans explaining that many declared they liked him “better when he was fat,” and that he “sucks without Fallout Boy.”

Firstly, it is disappointing and depressing to hear that fans would torment an artist in such a ruthless manner. But secondly, it is unbelievable how one of the more promising up-and-coming groups of the mid 2000s could have such a drastic collapse. It was only back in 2004 when fans were discussing who would become a bigger group: The Killers or Fallout Boy.

Killers’ front man Brandon Flowers publicly insulted not only Fallout Boy but all of the fleetingly-popular Emo groups back in 2006 explaining to NME Magazine, “You don’t realize what you could be getting yourselves into with Fall Out Boy and what kind of impact it could have in a way that you don’t really want. … Culturally, if it gets as big as it is in America, it could change an entire generation of people growing up here. Emo, pop-punk, whatever you want to call it, is dangerous. We don’t wanna dislike anyone, and we’ve still never met Fall Out Boy, but there’s a creature inside me that wants to beat all those bands to death.” (www.stereogum.com, retrieved February 29, 2012.)

Of course Flowers later retracted the statements, but the flood gates were open to the debate as to what band could stand the test of time. Both bands would continue to release albums after the underwhelming fireworks to varying degrees of success. The true examination came when the two lead singers, Stump and Flowers released solo albums. Flowers released “Flamingo,” in 2010 while Stump dropped “Soul Punk” in 2011.

Flamingo was not a global-dominating sensation by any means, but it was successful enough to have validated him as one of the most recognizable, and notorious front men of rock n’ roll. While Flowers’ album sounded more or less like the Killers taking a trip to Nashville, Tennessee, Stump took a radically different approach.

Stump transformed his image from being a pot-bellied,side-burn rockin’ second fiddle to over-rated Pete Wentz, into a slim, trim, Michael Jackson-sounding lead man. The makeover indicated that Stump was prepared to be taken seriously as a solo artist, but that he was also forging a completely new sound for his surprised audience.

Unfortunately, Stump’s work failed to catch on not only in mainstream, but with any identifiable demographic. Stump’s built-in fan base from Fallout Boy appeared to have completely deserted him after he chose to dump the pop-punk sound in favour of a more mature take on music. Nobody seems to be more aware of this inadequacy than Stump himself. Stump mentioned that he has recorded a follow-up to “Soul Punk” but is hesitant to release the material for what sounds like fear of more ridicule.

Yes, the Emo pot has rapidly evaporated as the only groups to still remain from this scene are The Killers and My Chemical Romance, who both have successfully evolved relatively unscathed.  Stump mentioned that he would be more than willing to reunite with Fallout Boy, who technically are not broken up, yet currently have all the attributes that point to a band in need of serious reconciliation.

Why Stump is so shamelessly sensitive about the matter is likely because of the fact that “Soul Punk” is his creation from start to finish. Flowers had plenty of production help and even had members of the Killers play on a few of the tracks, but Stump performed every instrument and wrote every lyric of his debut album.

It was a project that he clearly poured his entire existence into, yet the overall feedback has been devastating. The road for Stump seems to be difficult to determine. He mentioned that he may look into seeking training in the trades, as he is completely discouraged from music at the moment.

His former competition Brandon Flowers meanwhile, is in the recording studio preparing for what could be a defining album of the Killers’ successful career.

What a difference 8 years can make indeed.

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