Six years ago today Fall Out Boy released the brilliant ‘Save Rock And Roll’.
Alongside the record the band also put together a feature-length film called ‘The Young Blood Chronicles’ which to this day is still as baffling and brilliant as when it was released. To celebrate this occasion, let’s go in deep and see if we can figure out what the hell is going on.
Now, first things first. Here is the full film for your personal consumption. Watch it, digest it, let it all sink in. Then proceed.
SO let’s try our best to dissect this from the very beginning.
At the start of ‘The Phoenix’ the lads have a briefcase. Whatever is in said briefcase leaves them pretty stunned, but where did they get it? What is its origin? How did they come to know about it? More importantly, why are they being chased for it? What could be so important that Patrick has to lose his hand to get a hold of it and for the rest of the band to be kidnapped as well?
After all of the band have been subjected to food, drink and suspiciously coloured powder at the dinner that takes place in ‘Young Volcanoes’, they are all subject to their different levels of torture. Strangely the only one that seems to have any of proper effect is the one that Patrick undergoes where you see his eyes turn yellow. The situations that the others are shown in appear to be more about humiliation. If it wasn’t for Pete’s quick thinking and pretty brutal use of a rock that could have driven them all completely mad. So why is it Patrick is being changed into something evil rather than the others? Or is it because of Pete’s quick thinking that the other three aren’t affected? Were there bigger plans here?
As we flow into the clip for ‘My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark’ we see 2 Chainz, because of course, setting fire to loads of Fall Out Boy’s old instruments and memorabilia. This feels on the surface like a way for whomever these evildoers are to get rid of all traces of the band, but on a deeper level perhaps it is a metaphor for ringing in the new era of the band post-hiatus. The Old Fall Out Boy can’t come to the phone right now, right? But in terms of the video, it’s the definitely the former, more sinister approach.
In the next two parts of the story we are introduced properly to Big Sean (‘The Mighty Fall’) and Foxes (‘Just One Yesterday’). Now Big Sean’s involvement in the story seems to be less bad intentioned than Foxes, but what do they know that we don’t? Who has Big Sean been working with to get him roped into the band’s business and why is this the first part of chasing the band that Foxes has been involved in? It feels as though the band have friends and enemies hiding in every single corner of this tale and it gets harder and harder to know who to trust.
Also, snakes. Everybody seems to have their own personal snake that has escaped their body somehow and is always slithering very closely to them. Historically snakes represent a creative life force. So are the snakes that stay close to each member of the band a physical version of their musical abilities? Do they represent something much deeper?
NOW things really start to get interesting.
‘Ratatat’ is the first glimpse we get into the organisation that seems to want Fall Out Boy dead and the contents of that briefcase in their posession. With Courtney Love at the helm it appears as though the organisation exists to destroy music in all forms. Battering instruments, snapping records and making sure that silence rules the airwaves. What that has to do with whatever is in the briefcase we still don’t know, but the fact that Patrick now appears to be a music hating killing machine shows that it is REALLY important. Does it hold the key to whether or not music is free and controlled? Does it contain the very essence of sound?
As we reach the conclusion of the film is when things get really weird. Ascending to Heaven and finally being reunited together as a band after each of their grizzly deaths, FOB meet God who is obviously Elton John. Handing them their instruments and heading back down to Earth to fight off Courtney Love and her henchwomen with the power of music once and for all, it feels like a fitting end and a victory for all those who worship noise. The lads play a show and everybody is happy.
BUT WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE IN HORRIBLE MASKS? WHAT IS THE BLOOD RITUAL THAT THEY ARE CONDUCTING TO OPEN THE BRIEFCASE THAT THEY ARE NOW IN POSSESSION OF? WHAT THE HELL IS THAT THING THAT COMES OUT OF THE BRIEFCASE AND STARTS KILLING EVERYTHING IN IT’S PATH? WHY IS THERE SO MUCH BLOOD EVERYWHERE AND WHY IS ELTON JOHN COVERED IN IT?
It feels as though below everything else that has been going on, some sort of cult was at the core of all of this. Why? We don't know. What would have happened if FOB hadn't been there to fight that horrible scythe wielding bird thing at the end? Who knows. All we know is when we though we had it all figured out, we are right back where we started.
Though the Young Blood Chronicles does asks a lot of questions in its 49-minute running time, it also represents something very special. It shows in a very detailed and gory manner the distance that we would go to protect the things that we love. It demonstrates camaraderie, brotherhood and togetherness that only the closest of friends could display. It displays that in the face of adversity, and in this case the plot to destroy the very lifeblood that we all feed on, nothing is more powerful than the passion that is conjured through a love of music and that there are people who would risk their lives to defend our right to scream along to our favourite songs.
We have learned that rock and roll must be protected at all costs. Thank you Fall Out Boy for continuing to remind us of that.