It’s been 20 years since Fall Out Boy released their first studio album, “Take This to Your Grave,” on May 6, 2003. The album has gained world-wide popularity and inspired bands such as Panic! At The Disco and Waterparks. On Rolling Stone’s list of “The 50 Greatest Pop-Punk Albums,” it is ranked fifth among albums like Blink-182’s “Dude Ranch” (1997) and Green Day’s “Dookie” (1994).
In honor of 20 years of “Take This to Your Grave,” here is a ranking of all its songs:
12. ‘Grenade Jumper’
In last place is “Grenade Jumper,” which is the ninth track off of “Take This to Your Grave.” Although it is last on this ranking, it still is an amazing track with its catchy guitar riffs, rumbling bass line and head-banging drums. This song was written as a thank you to their early fans who came to their shows and supported them.
In particular, they give a shout out to their friend Chris Gutierrez during the chorus when lead singer Patrick Stump sings, “Hey Chris, you were our only friend / And I know this seems belated, but we love you back.” It’s a sweet moment, especially since Gutierrez and the band are still friends and he continues to support them. Nonetheless, it’s a simple track with a heartfelt message, but it feels a little out of place with the rest of the record that is more angsty and ruthless with its lyricism.
Next is “The Patron Saint of Liars and Fakes,” the last track off of this record. Again, this is another great track, but it’s not as stand-out as some of the other songs on the album. However, there are a few standout moments like the bridge’s lyrics, “And when it all goes to hell, will you be able to tell me sorry with a straight face?” and “Take this to your grave/I’ll take it to mine,” overlap with each other. It’s an interesting track as it portrays a strong theme of vengeance and holding on to love even though there’s still hatred for the other person.
The next track on this ranking is “The Pros and Cons of Breathing,” which is the eighth track off the record. This is a special track as it is one of the first songs that was written in the way that most Fall Out Boy tracks are written today. The majority of the lyrics on this record were written by Stump, while only a few were written or critiqued by Fall Out Boy bassist, Pete Wentz. However, this track’s lyrics are mainly Wentz’s while Stump focused on the melodies and instrumentals. More on this duality within the record can be found in the band’s commentary of the album. Nevertheless, it’s a strong track with vivid lyrical imagery, but it is not as strong as the other songs on this album
Next on this ranking is “Homesick at Space Camp,” the fifth track off the record. The stand-out instrument on this song are drummer Andy Hurley’s rumbling drums that not only begin the song but end the track as well. The drums added with the numerous guitar slides and “chicas,” added by lead guitarist Joe Trohman, make this a great pop-punk track. It’s not as stand-out as some of the other tracks, but it’s still an upbeat punk track that the listener can rock out to.
The next song on this ranking is the fan-favorite “Chicago Is So Two Years Ago,” which is the seventh track on the album. This is also a special track as the band plays this song live whenever they visit the Windy City. Chicago is the band’s hometown, so the listener will catch several references to the city not only on this record but throughout their discography.
When the listener peruses their discography, they may find the beginning of this song’s bridge (“Until your breathing stops forever”) sampled at the beginning of the title track of their seventh album, “Save Rock and Roll.” Another special addition to this track is Motion City Soundtrack’s vocalist Justin Courtney Pierre’s feature during the outro of the track. Other than the specialties of this track that fans may enjoy, the song is an angsty banger and one of the more memorable songs off the album.
Next is the opening track of the album, “Tell That Mick He Just Made My List of Things to Do Today.” The title of the track is a reference to one of the more iconic lines spoken in Wes Anderson’s 1998 drama comedy, “Rushmore.” This is an example of one of the many Fall Out Boy song titles that reference some of the band’s favorite movies.
Nonetheless, this track is a terrific album opener as it begins with the sound of a telephone being hung up and eventually fades into guitars and drums hitting the listener in the face. This is one of the more angst-ier tracks on the record, especially with lyrics like, “Let’s play this game, called when you catch fire / I wouldn’t p*ss to put you out” and “Stop burning bridges and drive off of them.” It’s full of anger and hate, which makes for an extremely polarizing and brutal pop punk track.
The sixth song on this ranking is also the sixth song on the record, “Sending Postcards From a Plane Crash (Wish You Were Here).” While the song’s themes are more in tune with the themes from “Homesick at Space Camp,” the lyrics are more angsty and vivid with lines like, “Every friend we’ve ever had in common / I will sever the tie, sever the tie with you.” The instrumentals are far more poppier in this song with driving drums and sliding guitar riffs. Stump’s melodies are catchy and memorable, which makes the track stand out. Overall, this is an underrated and different song from “Take This to Your Grave.”
The next track on this ranking is the eleventh song off the album, “Reinventing the Wheel to Run Myself Over.” This song is quite different from the rest of the tracks on this album as it picks up the tempo and calls upon different inspirations of Fall Out Boy like Lifetime and Chris Connelly. The driving Travis Barker-esque drums at the beginning of the record kicks off the fast tempo and the quick guitar riffs follow in suit to keep it going.
The lyrics are condescending as the narrator, aka Stump, feels like he’s not enough for his love interest to fall in love with him. The lines, “I can’t wake up to these reminders of who I am / A failure at everything, eighteen going on extinct,” hit home for listeners who are around this age and feel like nothing is going for them. Moreover, it’s a heavy-hitting song and one of the best tracks off this record.
In fourth place on this ranking is the oldest song on the album, “Calm Before the Storm.” Originally recorded on their 2003 album demo, “Evening Out With Your Girlfriend,” “Calm Before the Storm” is a fast punk track that showcases how much the band evolved into their sound in less than a few months. This song is a great mix of all the musical quirks littered throughout the album. With guitar slides, metallic bass lines and drilling drum fills, the track makes for a fantastic pop-punk track.
Wentz’s background screams are also heard throughout the entire record, but the outro is layered heavily with his roaring vocals. It’s an unique trait on the album, but they hit harder within this song in particular. Nevertheless, this track is a staple Fall Out Boy song, and fans can be grateful for the decision of revamping the track and putting it on the album.
3. ‘Dead on Arrival’
In third place is the album’s first single, “Dead on Arrival,” which sits as number two on the record’s track listing. Although the band hardly plays this song live anymore, “Dead on Arrival” is high-energy with its ravaging guitar riffs and heavy drums. It’s a great song to bounce around and head-bang to, especially in a small, sweaty venue. Like most of the record, the lyrics of this song tell the story of a rocky relationship where the narrator finds it hard to talk to his love interest claiming, “This conversation’s been dead on arrival.” Although the lyrics are simple and not as angsty as some of the other track’s lyrics, the instrumentals make up for it as they make the listeners feel hyped-up. Overall, “Dead on Arrival” is a terrific single to draw in the listener.
In second place is the record’s third single, “Saturday,” and it is the fourth song on the album’s track listing. This is another special track as the band plays this song at the end of almost every live performance. Although it’s not as high-energy as the last song, it still conveys a lot of emotion and depth lyrically, vocally and instrumentally.
As far as lyrics go, the song wrestles with the idea of being so fearful of one’s future that they may miss out on what’s happening in the present. Vocally, Stump’s vocals are top-notch as he belts the song’s catchy melodies with carefully crafted vocal runs and soaring falsetto notes. The song also features Wentz’s iconic screaming during the final bridge and chorus, which is a tasteful addition to this track in particular. Instrumentally, Trohman's guitar riffs and Hurley’s drum fills are some of the best off the record. Moreover, it’s a meaningful song to both the band and their fans, and it’s one of the best tracks off of the album.
Finally, the album’s second single and third track on its track listing,“Grand Theft Autumn / Where Is Your Boy,” takes the number one spot of being the best song off of “Take This to Your Grave.” It’s almost the opposite of “Saturday” with its fast-paced instrumentals and simple lyrics. The instrumentals are more poppy with its bobbing drums and simple guitar riffs, but it still makes the listener head-bang along. Stump’s vocals are raw, yet soaring when it comes to the bridges and pre-choruses. The background harmonies added to Stump’s lead vocals within the choruses make them sound full and complete.
When it comes to the lyrics, they are pretty simple in terms of theme and wording. The narrator questions the actions of his love interest who is seeing another person by asking them, “Where is your boy tonight? I hope he is a gentleman.” Overall, it’s a culturally significant song to Fall Out Boy’s history as it remains one of the band’s more well-known tracks. However, it deserves to be recognized as the best track off of “Take This to Your Grave” not only for its status as one of the greatest pop-punk tracks of all time, but for its catchy tune and ability to stay relevant for 20 years.