In fact, they don't suck at all.
One of the most unfairly maligned bands in all the land, Fall Out Boy is despised for such sins as getting really popular and having a glammy showboat playing bass. At least one reviewer pouted that the band's addictive new album Folie a Deux, is too ambitious. Oh, please. Does anyone say that about Radiohead or Animal Collective, or any of the sanctified indie saints? Ambition is good. Ambition means you're trying. Ambition means you have ideas and want them to get a public airing (which is pretty much the essence of the creative impulse), so let's all take a deep breath and stop slapping around a band that's smarter and more fun than a lot of people are willing to admit.
Fall Out Boy deserves a break from the hateration for the following reasons:
1) Folie a Deux is outstanding. It has 13 songs, 10 of which are keepers. Two of the other three tracks (the late-album filler "W.A.M.S." and "West Coast Smoker") have interesting moments. The only song I really hate is the single, "I Don't Care," which says more about the state of the rock-singles market than it does about the state of this album. Top to bottom, it's loaded with smart, hooky anthems. If you, the rock 'n' roll fan, can't get behind "Disloyal Order of Water Buffaloes," "Closers" or "20 Dollar Nose Bleed," something is wrong.
2) They have great taste in collaborators. Would Lil Wayne and Elvis Costello have agreed to guest on Folie a Deux if the band was so awful?
3) They're funny. They have a song called "Coffee's for Closers," a Glengarry Glen Ross
reference that shouldn't be lost on the sanctimonious pop culture priests that worship David Mamet but think Pete Wentz is juvenile. Their new album cover features a picture of a boy in a bear suit carrying an actual bear on his back. Their video
for "Thanks Fr Th Mmrs" allows chimpanzees to mercilessly mock the band, subtly sending up the idea that Fall Out Boy is so terrible, even a monkey can do better.
4) Bass-playing lyricist Wentz, whom we are supposed to hate because he's in love with lip-syncher Ashlee Simpson, is a charismatic guy, which is not as cool as being a sulky shoegazing tortured genius.
5) They're fair to their fans. When Folie a Deux came out, they made it available as a $3.99 download on their MySpace page. So much for major-label bands being slaves to their corporate masters. It's hard to think of Fall Out Boy as profiteering sellouts when they're selling their new album at a cut-rate price. (Yeah, they were probably selling it so cheap because that's what it's worth! Good one!)
6) They're an increasingly rare breed—that is, a massively popular rock band. Quick: Name three other American rock bands with members under 30 years old that can headline arenas. Can't do it? Try naming two. How about one?