While pop-punk has been experiencing a cultural revival of sorts in recent years, Wilmette, Illinois’ Fall Out Boy has never lost its footing when it comes to being king of the genre. With the exception of a brief hiatus, the band has been going strong for 22 years, having just released their eighth studio album earlier in 2023.
Releasing their debut LP in 2003, Fall Out Boy made one hell of an impression in the pop-punk and emo scene, and in a matter of time, would cement themselves as one of the most influential bands to come out of the genre. Prior to their hiatus in 2010, the band had a consistent and solid track record for crafting albums overwhelming with exhilarating and vibrant instrumentation, each song featuring a dazzling display of roller coaster-esque technicality.
However, upon reuniting in 2013, Fall Out Boy embarked on a new stylistic journey, embracing more electronic pop into their material. This new approach has been divisive for some, but it’s also allowed the band to further expand upon their artistry and go beyond what they’ve done prior.
With the band’s newest album So Much (for) Stardust having come out this year, we thought now would be a perfect time to rank every Fall Out Boy album from worst to best.
While Mania features a familiar spark of vibrancy that’s been a staple of Fall Out Boy’s music, it’s quite a departure from their pop-punk roots, leaning further into electronic rock. While there’s an abundance of playful instrumentation to be enjoyed, it lacks the punch and thrill that makes Fall Out Boy who they are. Rather, Mania comes across as a typical and conventional pop-rock-electronic record that many other bands have made.
7. American Beauty/American Psycho
Prior to Mania, 2015’s American Beauty/American Psycho makes for a more well-balanced presentation of genre variety, with the band never leaning too hard in one direction and offering a decent mixture of old and new. While the overt electronic pop elements heard throughout the record may not be everyone’s cup of tea, American Beauty/American Psycho provides an overall enjoyable rush from start to finish.
6. Save Rock and Roll
While they had previously experimented with other sounds and tones, the band’s shift into electronic pop really kicked off with 2013’s Save Rock and Roll. Here, we get a more toned-down take on those pop-electronic qualities heard in the two previously mentioned LPs, those qualities not coming across as bombastic. While it’s commendable that Fall Out Boy open themselves up to further experimentation, there’s a little bit of awkwardness at work in terms of sonic identity – a struggle to bring in the new while striving to hold onto the old.
5. Infinity on High
Coming off their beloved album From Under the Cork Tree, 2007’s Infinity on High sees the band further playing into their brand of heavy pop-punk and emo. That said, it also features them expanding ever so slightly into new sonic territories; take “This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race” for example, which exudes a poppy flair alongside the band’s rock instrumentation. These moments are welcoming, for while it’s great to hear Fall Out Boy continue to play to their strengths, Infinity on High doesn’t push their artistry in any major way.
4. Folie à Deux
Coming off of Infinity on High, Folie à Deux marks an impressive moment in Fall Out Boy’s career. Prior to them adventuring deep into the waters of electronic pop-rock, this record is one of the strongest presentations they’ve offered in terms of stylistic and technical variety. While never fully abandoning their pop-punk and heavy roots, Fall Out Boy pushes themselves into extraordinary sonic territory, weaving an array of sound and technical performances that make for a brilliant musical buffet. From classic rock to alternative, emo ballads to riveting piano and horn-driven instrumentation, Folie à Deux is a great achievement that still holds up to this day.
3. So Much (for) Stardust
Following the release of American Beauty/American Psycho and Mania, Fall Out Boy’s latest album is an incredible return to form. For those who love older Fall Out Boy, but also appreciate what the band has been striving to achieve in their modern albums, So Much (for) Stardust is an astonishing fusion of the band’s old and new. Stripping away the bombastic electronic qualities that have hindered other releases, So Much (for) Stardust sees the band playing tightly focused rock-centric performances; those pop and electronic elements are still there, but they serve as side components to elevate the theatricality of a given song, rather than dominate. Given the technicality and creative variety provided on this record, we are stoked to see what Fall Out Boy does next.
2. From Under the Cork Tree
When it comes to 2000s pop-punk, From Under the Cork Tree has cemented itself as one of the genre’s best gems. Bringing together exhilarating melodies and a captivating range of emotional atmosphere, From Under the Cork Tree is one of Fall Out Boy’s most enchanting releases to date. Along with the album having an incredible impact upon its release, it’s recognized to this day as an important entry in emo history. In fact, Rolling Stone acknowledged the album as a classic, highlighting it in their “40 Greatest Emo Albums of All Time” feature.
1. Take This to Your Grave
That said, above all their other releases, nothing hits harder than the band’s 2003 studio album debut, Take This to Your Grave. With this record, Fall Out Boy charged into the scene with a compelling blend of emo and pop-punk. From its flavorful range of melodic heaviness to the various technical twists and turns involving time signature shifts and tempo that keep each song refreshing, Take This to Your Grave has aged like a fine wine. Similar to its 2005 follow-up, the record has also received great accolades, including a mention in Rolling Stone’s “The 50 Greatest Pop Punk Albums.”