Sunday, March 04, 2012

Arrest him for PW [Public Whining] (Ava and C.I.)


Patrick Stump is the singer and (with Pete Wentz) songwriter for the emo group Fall Out Boy. Last week, he became more famous as the unrealistic cry baby and we became eternally grateful that the internet is so relatively new. Otherwise, his public whine would be much more common.

In the hopes of preventing others from self-embarrassment, we're offering up this article.

Fall Out Boy is on an indefinite hiatus. That's due, in part, to the fact that the 2009 album didn't sell. It was hated by fans, according to Stump in his lengthy whine, and now his solo album has suffered as well.

First off, don't release two albums in one year if the first doesn't sell. The economy does not show that to be a smart move. Truant Wave came out at the start of the year and was an EP which never made it higher on Billboard's 200 than number 67. That was a stupid album to release to begin with and someone should have told Stump that.

Reality, initial interest in a solo career of a band member will always be highest with the debut solo release. There will never ever be cause to wonder again. Other albums may sell better or worse but the "What does he/she sound like on their own?" will never again be a question because the debut solo album will answer it.

So if you're a songwriter and singer from an emo group, you need to take care with your first album. Taking care with it does not mean assembling an EP -- a format that has never sold well in the US (LP is "long playing," EP is "extended play" and is usually four to six songs) and bragging that the songs are about characters and not yourself.

You hail from emo, your audience expects confessional.

Let's introduce a name here, Joni Mitchell. As Joni's noted many times, when she did The Hissing of Summer Lawns which contained more character songs and less confessional ones, a segment of her base turned on her. That was in 1975. Patrick Stump's ignorance of the music business does not inspire confidence in his whinings.

Having released the flop Truant Wave, he then felt the need to crowd the market with more product just eight months later. No surprise, the second solo album, Soul Punk, did only marginally better, climbing to number 47 on the Billboard 200.

Stevie Nicks is one of the few artists to not only be a member of a successful band but also have a successful solo debut and to manage both a band career and a solo career. She hails from a rock band, she's written many huge hits ("Dreams," "Edge of Seventeen," "Stand Back," "Sara," "If Anyone Falls In Love," "I Can't Wait," "Gypsy," "Rhiannon," "Rooms On Fire," "Leather & Lace," "Landslide," "Silver Springs," "Nightbird," etc.). Her solo sound wasn't an echo of Fleetwood Mac but it also wasn't a rejection of Fleetwood Mac. Meaning an AOR radio station could play a track by her or by her group. It's something Patrick Stump should have considered before releasing his awful Soul Punk album.

Even more than that, he should have considered the fortunes of Fall Out Boy, why the audience turned on Fall Out Boy and what that meant and what it would mean to his own career? Had he explored any of that, he might not have put out the crap he did but he certainly wouldn't have been surprised by the reaction to his two albums.

Fall Out Boy's From Under The Cork Tree came out in 2005. It's noted in the opening of Stump's whine and he claims "I can live with" the fact that, for many fans, that will always be their favorite. But he can't deal with it because he can't explore it. Why did that album connect when others didn't? Because it was personal. Because it had songs about experiences people could relate because they'd been through it or were going through it. Maybe the fact that Wentz wrote the lyrics is why Stump can't analyze what touched people?

If it's fear of giving Wentz too much credit, he apparently also fears giving Wentz any blame. Pete Wentz destroyed Fall Out Boy. It's there in the charts. The 2005 album sells more in the US alone than the follow up, 2007's Infinity On High , did in all the world. How does that happen? It was Wentz fault for turning in crappy lyrics about fame (no, your listeners don't relate to that) and deciding that Lil Wayne was the person he should model himself after as a lyricst. (Lil Wayne has had how many hits on the Alternative Rock charts?)

Far more damaging than the lyrics Wentz wrote was the spectacle that his life became. He is the bassist. He brought a whole new crowd to the band as 2006 came to a close. Not fans of their music, but fans of drunks who expose their penis online. That could have been nothing but Wentz appeared to ride that moment (that he apologized for) to greater fame for his looks than for anything to do with music. Emo's really not interested in pin ups. The fan base was not amused by Wentz' antics or the sudden interest from non-musical types in Fall Out Boy -- a very big problem if you're trying to float an image and you're wearing your Fall Out Boy hoodie when someone approaches you to say, "Hey, Pete Wentz is in that group, right? Did you see his dick online?"

By the time 2008's Folie A Deux is released was released, Wentz has already spent the year in the gossip columns for getting engaged to non-singer Ashlee Simpson and for their getting married and for them expecting a child. Simpson is the sister of reality-TV celebrity Jessica Simpson and has some success in music with the Disney Channel crowd. No one took her seriously. Ridicule followed her October 23, 2004 Saturday Night Live appearance when she attempted to perform a song entitled "Autobiography" but the audience was treated to her vocals for the song "Pieces of me" and it was revealed that Ashlee Simpson had gone on Saturday Night Live and lip synched when she was supposed to be perofrming live. She showed up at the end of that show to lie and blame it on her "band playing the wrong song." Two days later she offered another explanation (which still didn't really own up to the fact that she hadn't been singing live).

Pete Wentz' actions ran off listeners as much as those awful lyrics did.

Had Patrick Stump put any thought into his career, he would have realized that his band was as overexposed as Pete Wentz' penis.

When that's where you're at, the smart thing to do is lay low. If you can't do that, put out an album exploring experiences people can identify with, to make sure that they can identify with you. You can do a song (or two) about the excess you wallowed in or even an angry song about how your bassist mistook himself for the front man. There would be interest in those songs regardless of whether they were good musically or not. If you made them musical and singable, they'd be hits.

Stump released not one but two bad albums in 2011. And now he wants to whine that people didn't buy them.

He also wants to whine that people bought tickets to his show -- that they bought tickets to it. Let's quote that embarrassing whine:

Those examples of “Haters,” were people who never liked me (or at least never liked my music) and, by all rights, never really should. Such is the way of things. Different strokes for different folks as it were. What I wasn’t prepared for was the fervor of the hate from people who were ostensibly my own supporters (or at least supporters of something I had been part of). The barrage of “We liked you better fat,” the threatening letters to my home, the kids that paid for tickets to my solo shows to tell me how much I sucked without Fall Out Boy, that wasn’t something I suppose I was or ever will be ready for. That’s dedication. That’s real palpable anger.

Has no one ever had the guts to tell Patrick Stump to stop talking? Has no one ever told him that he sounds incredibly spoiled and incredibly stupid? Most people will not pay money and spend time to go to a show they know they're going to hate. Life is too short. Stump deludes himself that he's enough of a train wreck to have started pulling in that crowd.

What's happening is people are paying to see him and are grossly disappointed in what they're seeing. Again, his musical ignorance is as appalling as his whining.

"Garden Party." Stump needs to learn the song. Rick Nelson experienced audiences who weren't happy with the music he was making and he turned it into not a whine but a song ("Garden Party").

Instead, Patrick Stump churns out crap like "This City."

Who the F**K thought that piece of s**t was a single? (Someone did since it's the single used to promote Soul Punk.)

It's a bad revisit of "We Built This City" -- the Starship song that is near universally reviled (it's Homer Simpson's favorite song at least).

The lyrics are banal and boring.

This city
Is my city
I was born and raised here
I got it made here
And if I have my wayItalicI'm going to stay here

Worse than the chorus is the verse (we'll spare you). How f**king stupid is Patrick Stump?

His audience is not city dwellers. His audience, Fall Out Boy's audience, were suburban kids.

That's before you get to the video which appears to be Fall Out Boy On The Verge Of Coming Out. If Stump is gay, step out of the closet, might get some interest in the album. If not, he better grasp (a) he's not thin (he's still chunky) and (b) fat men trying to look like boy band members just look like Corky St. Clair in Waiting For Guffman.

And, Stump, that's before we've even touched on your need to recycle Lisa Lisa dance moves.

Well into his endless whine, Stump offers, "Add into that the economic risk I had taken [In short: I blew my nest egg on that record and touring in support of it] the hate really crushed me. The standard response to any complaints I could possibly have about my position in life seems to be 'You poor sad multi-millionaire. I feel so sorry for you.' Quite right, I still have access to enough money to live on in order to avoid bankruptcy for at least a few years as long as I stick to my budget, but money really isn’t everything and it never was."

If you're going to think that, don't go public with it.

In the real world, people go to a job every day. They don't have a big album that they can expect to live off of the rest of their lives. No one forced you to release two bad albums in one year. Nor did anyone force you to record bad dance music (with a rap) or to prance around it like it was the eighties and you were the latest music strumpet to chart.

You brought this on yourself.

It's fixable. But not until you're willing to own what you did.

In the meantime, stop whining. It's not going to bring you the self-respect that you insist you want.

Janis Ian was world famous as a teenager and quickly became the forgotten adult because audiences are fickle. What saved her was what made her: Her songwriting. "Society's Child" could, in fact, be topped. "At Seventeen," "Stars," "In The Winter," "All Those Promises" and many more proved that Janis wasn't a fluke, she was an incredibly talented writers of songs. (And a great performer as well.)

The lesson in all of this is that instead of blogging about it, you should be attempting to turn it into song. That's when you get to have the last laugh, if you've got the talent to pull it off. (We'd bet you do.)
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