When Patrick Stump debut solo album 'Soul Punk', he broke down several barriers. A brave and bold record that showcased the talents of one of the scene's most iconic voices, this is what can teach us in 2020.
In this life it's incredibly important that you express yourself in the most vivid ways you can. Our time is too short to be stuck to one way of living and there is too much beauty in the world for you to stay in one corner for your whole existance. Spread your wings and fly as much as you possibly can because one day you won't be able to. Now if you take that philosophy and apply it to musicians it makes a lot more sense as to why bands and artists want to try different things and indulge in things such as solo and side projects. To be more exact, it's this philosophy that goes a long way to explaining why Patrick Stump wanted to create and release an album as diverse and divisive as 'Soul Punk' on October 18, back in 2011. And it also goes a long way to teaching us what it means to go with our gut and follow our dreams.
Though first, a little bit of a potted history. Fall Out Boy called time on proceedings in November of 2009 and entered an indefinite hiatus. With more time to himself than he had been granted in eight years, Patrick got to work on a solo record immedietely. Playing every instrument from guitar to synth and producing it all himself, the original record that popped out of his head in 2010 was scrapped. It was completely rewritten and remoulded around hit single and central song 'This City' which came to fruition at the eleventh hour and changed everything. The result of that rewrite was 'Soul Punk', an album built on the foundations of 70's disco and 00's electro that tussled with greed, indulgence, loneliness, paranoia, lust, love, loss and everything in between. It was far from what anybody expected and that's what made it brilliant.
Glowing hot and bright with neon green and hot pink, it's a record made for the nightlife. It's fuelled on the fires started on dancefloors across the world every Friday and Saturday night and it keeps burning thanks to the feet that fill them. It encapsulated the sound of commerical pop music in the early '10s better than a lot of songs that topped the charts at the time while also taking it to strange new planes. Eurphoric one moment, soulful the next, it's a display of songwriting that encapsulates a moment in time perfectly while also showing off the musical knowledge of Patrick in a way that he wasn't able to in the confines of Fall Out Boy. From the sensual pace of 'Dance Miserable' to the ginormous brass beats of 'Everybody Wants Somebody', the sporadic glitchiness of 'Spotlight' to the rock and roll loveliness of 'Allie', and not forgetting the extensive disco explosion that is 'Run Dry', it is a smorgasbord of styles. A cornucopia of influences flying all over the shop with reckless abandon. It is unique in more ways than one, and that's why it should be remembered.
It's much easier to digest 'Soul Punk' in hindsight as we know how the story finished. When it burst on the scene with all of its shiny bells and whistles, Fall Out Boy weren't currently a band. The hiatus was well truly in session and uncertainty lingered in the air like a bad smell. Nobody knew if this was the way it would be forever now. Was Patrick turning his back on pop-punk forever for a life in sequined suits and shiny shoes? Well, no. Now we know that Fall Out Boy never really went away. Each member was having their moment to stretch their creative muscle in a different section of the industry. Pete was making electonic music with Bebe Rexha under the moniker of Black Cards while Andy and Joe were shredding it hard in The Damned Things. This was just Patrick blowing off steam in a completely different way. Yet it goes a long way to explaining why when Fall Out Boy came back they sounded the way they did.
Though Fall Out Boy were a big deal pre-2009, in the years since their hiatus they have become a completely different beast altogether. Their reach has increased beyond the wildest of any of their dreams and they are playing shows that are getting bigger and bigger with each passing year. If 'Soul Punk' can teach us anything, it's to follow your heart when something peaks your interest. Not to sit on something that you feel passionate about. If something feels right, do it because you may end up regretting it. If 'Soul Punk' hadn't have come to exist, would we be here talking about Patrick and Fall Out Boy in the way that we do? Where would they be? What would they be doing? Because Patrick followed his passion for disco and funk and soul, we now have an album that not only provides a snapshot of a different time in music but also a physical manisfestation of the catalyst for new ideas that helped FOB to blossom when they eventually came back.
No matter how you look at it, 'Soul Punk' serves as a reminder of a Patrick Stump who was free to do whatever he wished. It's a record that represents a man coming into his own across 14 thumping bangers ready made for the discotheque. It's also a reminder to us all that it's ok to follow our heart every now and then. It's unique style of indulging in reckless abandon should be celebrated now and forever. 'Soul Punk' is not just a name, it's a mindset. It's a way of living. It's a movement that Patrick probably didn't even realise he had created. Soul Punk is all about being yourself and not letting anyone tell you you can't.