Carrie: This week we’re talking about our musical guilty pleasures. And no, I do not have Cobra Starship’s “Guilty Pleasure” running through my head right now. But, Jess, you worry me. I think I heard a song playing in your car the other day that made me question our friendship. “Burnin’ Up”? Really?
Jess: OK, you caught me. Yes, I listen to the Jonas Brothers. But hear me out. I don’t generally buy into the pop music phenomenon (I fully believe bands like The Ataris and Armor for Sleep have the capability to make an amazing impact on our generation), but there’s just something about the JoBros that’s catchy.
Carrie: I’ll admit they’re catchy too, but hooks don’t make a band. What else is there about them?
Jess: Honestly, it’s hard to explain. I think part of it has to do with the fact that they’re just so innocent. Don’t get me wrong, I listen to plenty of bands whose lyrics, well, let’s just say they won’t be performing in churches anytime soon. The Jonas Brothers provide a nice break from this. It gives me a chance to listen to something honest and unassuming, a rarity in the music world today. People might give them flack for the way they dress or question their uncorrupted nature, but that’s all just superficial bullshit. Fine, they may sing slightly childish songs and their love songs are reminiscent of sappy ’80s ballads, but that’s part of their appeal. After all, when the band members are 16, 19 and 21, it makes perfect sense that they haven’t fully discovered their own sound yet: They’re barely adults.
Carrie: So, we know tweens like them, but why do you like them?
Jess: Unlike all of their tween fans, I don’t like them because I think Nick Jonas (Jailbait Jonas, in my mind) is “soooo cute,” nor do I take all of their lyrics to be gospel. I realize their songs can be simple and naive at times, but it really doesn’t matter. It’s clear that they love what they do, and their songs are just fun. Are they the next great rock ‘n’ roll legends? No. Chances are they’ll be all but forgotten in a decade or so, but for the time being, they’re entertaining. Besides, let’s be honest: If I had a kid, I’d much rather she run around singing “S.O.S” instead of “Womanizer.”
Carrie: Yeah, well, anyone’s better than Britney Spears in my mind.
Jess: Okay, your turn. Scrolling through your iPod, something sort of surprised me. Fess up – do you really like Fall Out Boy?
Carrie: I’d say no to protect my reputation as this paper’s Arts & Entertainment editor, but I have to be honest – I kind of do. What saddens me is that I have to defend myself for liking them (not to you, but to the world). They used to be accepted before they “sold out.” “Take This To Your Grave” is a great album. It has just enough anger, sarcasm and love-sickness to make it the ideal growing up album. But then “From Under the Cork Tree” came out and everything changed. Just because “Sugar, We’re Going Down” was a mainstream success and the band embraced their fame instead of shying from it, they were labeled sell-outs.
Jess: So you would say the animosity started because of their new-found fame?
Carrie: Well, that’s not technically true. When Pete Wentz got Jay-Z’s number in his Sidekick, that was when the old fans started to abandon them. But I stand by bands I like. “Infinity on High” was a mess, I’ll admit. It was too ambitious and it strayed too much from the band’s style. But they were trying something new. Their newest record, “Folie a Deux,” is like a sophisticated mix of their first three efforts (since “Evening Out With Your Girlfriend” doesn’t count in my mind) – it’s still not perfect, but it’s the closest the band’s come to the rawness of “Take This To Your Grave.”
Jess: I’ll give you that. “Evening” sounds like a different band. But, when it comes down to it, why Fall Out Boy?
Carrie: Through everything, there are a few things about Fall Out Boy that people need to know. Yes, Wentz is an asshole. But he has a kid now (poor little BMW), so show some respect. Second, Andy Hurley is a kickass drummer. And third, no matter how many pictures of Wentz’s dick show up on the Internet, Patrick Stump’s voice is a revelation and his arrangements aren’t half bad either. I like FOB for what they are: a band. They’re not martyrs, saviors or the next Beatles. They’re a band making decent music. And they have one of the best lead singers of this decade.
Join Carrie and Jess next week when they talk about movies they’d rather forget ever happened. Caroline Russomanno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.