This is quite possibly the most embarrassing song that I actually really like:
Fall Out Boy may have reunited with a frankly astonishing level of success but is it ever going to be cool to like any of their side projects? Surely it’s the failure of the likes of Stump’s solo album that led to the success of the reunion. I do, however, have faith that Stump’s album (which is called Soul Punk) has to be the best Fall Out Boy spin off. I haven’t heard the other stuff but I’m not metal enough to appreciate that Half-Anthrax Half-FOB project and come on, I’m not going to listen to whatever Pete Wentz has been doing. I’m sure he’s still trying to rival Sex And The City’s Samantha Jones with his weird sex puns.
Anyway, here’s a little list of things that are brilliant about This City, and make it such an amazing song to put on when you have to tidy your bedroom.
- In case you didn’t know, Patrick Stump’s city is Chicago. If you listen to the song, it’s not hard to figure out just how much he likes it there.
- Who sings with this much… vigour? I love the fact that Stump sings like he’s drowning and really angry about it. A friend of mine once said that Bryan Ferry’s voice sounds like it’s constantly skirting absolute awful tunelessness and I think the same applies to Stump in spades. It’s almost terrible, but it’s even better for being so close to badness. (I hope that makes sense, as I do mean it as a compliment.)
- You know what, the fact that Patrick Stump sings so intensely really undermines the notion of the “guilty pleasure”. He obviously didn’t feel guilty about working hard on this song, so why should we feel guilty about enjoying it? The amount of effort he puts in is what makes his music so much fun.
- Although his politics are sound (in this song, unless I’m mistaken he’s a 9/11 conspiracy theorist in real life? I don’t know) Lupe Fiasco’s verse in this strikes me as super awkward. “Sorry my brother can’t let you in, cuz the property value might go down to a level that’s not economically sound…” what? It’s like one of those uncomfortable rap songs from Kevin Eldon’s thoroughly uncomfortable new sketch show. Okay, it’s not that bad, just a bit weird.
- You know what, I think my main problem with Fiasco’s part is his use of the word “sadly” in reference to racial segregation in urban areas. Sadness is not an appropriate reaction to racism and poverty, coming from a rapper. Bourgeois white people at dinner parties feel sad about that stuff, rappers should get indignant and enraged and firey. Like Wu-Tang Clan’s Tearz or Kanye West’s Diamonds of Sierra Leone.
- Stump looks inexplicably Klaus Nomi-esque in this video, what with the tall fringe, the new cheekbones with his already pale skin, and the triangular silhouette of his tuxedo. I understand the idea of reinvention, which fascinates a lot of us, especially pop stars but Stump’s new look here just makes me wish his solo work had been more successful. He never really got a chance to grow into it and now he’s back in Fall Out Boy we’re probably going to see more trucker hats and plaid shirts rather than ostentatious shoulder pads and bow ties. We’ll see, I suppose. I mean, don’t all popstars try to be Klaus Nomi these days anyway?
- Yes, yes they do. Though I’d argue most of them don’t know they’re doing it.
- The lyric “you’re never going to take my city away” is so ludicrous that it reminds me of the episode of The Simpsons where they have to move all of Springfield on a load of trucks. It’s so passionate but… is this a real thing that people are afraid of? That they’ll leave their city, come home and find a big pit of empty space where all the buildings and amenities were?
- Only today did I realise that he sings “I was born and raised here” not “I was born on Bay Street”. Patrick Stump really produces the best Mondegreens! And I appreciate the fact that his hometown-love hasn’t yet reached the heights of various Californian musicians who expects us to know the individual streets of wherever it is they live.
- I like Stump’s dance moves, namely, his manner of dragging and stomping his foot in time with his music. He looks like one of those horses that can “count” and “do maths” by stamping their feet. Again, this sounds loopy but is very much a compliment.
- I really love how all the “related videos” are other pop songs, except for one video of David Mitchell. That may just be an indication of the kind of stuff that I watch on YouTube that YouTube memorises against my will, but I like to think it’s because they are both endearingly geeky and have struggled with weight issues and mad fringes.
That’s it. Now I’ve earned the derision of music snobs everywhere, I’ll make one last concession to good taste and recommend that you check out French punk band Sport, whose album is available to download for a price of your choice, and is also very good.