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A Love Letter To Your Emo Past, Present, And Future: Songs From The Decaydance Cinematic Universe

Kayla Moreno Aug 7, 2023

Stream 'Songs From The Decaydance Cinematic Universe' on Spotify here.

Yesterday, Fall Out Boy closed out the North American leg of their 'So Much For (Tour)Dust' summer tour. For me, this specific Fall Out Boy tour managed to teleport me back to my childhood while keeping my Vans firmly planted in 2023 soil. The headliners did an amazing job at looking towards the future, while simultaneously embracing and honoring their past, which is largely referential to the artists that were featured on Decaydance Records (rebranded as DCD2 Records in 2013).

This label, established by Pete Wentz in 2005, eventually became pivotal to Fall Out Boy's presence in the music industry. Wentz nurtured artists from the ground up, introducing once-rigid crowds to music that might have been too unconventional previously, often with the help of production credits by none other than the lead singer of Fall Out Boy, Patrick Stump. Now, I see this group of artists as a whole sum of moving parts, and each of their impact has lasted to this very day. Every song featured on this playlist was made by groups who have been, or are currently, Decaydance Records artists. I lovingly refer to this ambitious mega-crossover of bands as the Decaydance Cinematic Universe – it is perhaps the most ambitious crossover of all time.

This selection of 'Songs From The Decaydance Cinematic Universe' is reminiscent of scorched flat-ironed hair paired with its true love aerosol hairspray ("Alcohol"), SPF 100 and the subsequent sunburns that managed to follow me regardless ("Camisado"), grass-stained knees ("How You Love Me Now"), fake clip-on piercings because I was too scared to get real ones ("Love Like Woe" / "fake friend"), countless musical theater rehearsals ("Gibberish" / "Tonight You're Perfect"), “borrowed” band tees that I got from the people who showed me the bands ("Black Mamba"), telling spooky stories around a fire with a summer camp crush ("What D'You Call It") and, honestly, optimism. However, these songs have kept their place in my, and countless other peoples’ lives 20 years later. Most of these songs were played on the tour, some for the first time, and occasionally jumpscaring us with special guests from the Decaydance Cinematic Universe ("Cupid's Chokehold" / "Chicago Is So Two Years Ago" / "Sophomore Slump").

I vividly remember the community that was established between everyone involved when I was first introduced to this “scene.” It was amazing from where I stood; these were real friends, making stuff together just because they wanted to, like a Cobra Starship song featuring Travie McCoy with Patrick Stump backing vocals ("Kiss My Sass"). I’d stay up after school with the person who showed me the music to watch new installments of bands’ silly web series, which were comedic genius at the time. Cobra Cam & TAITV are personal favorites ("Snakes On A Plane"). A few years later, I found that my friends were doing the same thing, creating stuff together, and learning a whole lot from people who aren’t much older than us ("One of THOSE Nights").

It’s been incredible hearing these songs live this summer. There is true magic found within live music, especially the feeling of hearing your favorite lyrics sung right in front of you; a special thrill is added for live debuts, 16 years post-release ("Bang The Doldrums"). My friends I met via our mutual love for Fall Out Boy all generated a similar list of songs that we swore we'd never hear live in our lifetime, yet we got to feel the rush of their first few notes at least once this summer ("G.I.N.A.S.F.S"). Plus, the latest generation of Wentz's roster gave us sparkly new mmrs ("I Hope You're Happy" / "Spiral City") to muse over for the next two decades, opening the shows alongside artists from the very first generation. This tour will forever feel like summer to me, so I wanted to encapsulate that feeling with a collection of songs that further instills what I believe to be Fall Out Boy's overall message — we can love our smudged eyeliner past ("Homesick At Space Camp") as we propel into a future that embraces a regular skincare routine ("Baby Blackout").

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