Sugar, We’re Goin Down (2005)
Fall Out Boy
In the Neo-Punk era of the late 90s into the 2000s, romantic love is well near unrecognizable. Yet for all its straining to trash the notion, “Sugar, We’re Goin Down” comes back to worship at the altar of youthful longing, a pounding anthem to the possible that pokes its green head up in the midst of the ash heap of the impossible.
You’re just a line in a song…
Provocatively, the song – while there is a kind of satirical side to it – glorifies sex as a form of emotional warfare. But the listener has to return to the song’s opening lines to decipher what the lyrics are really saying:
Am I more than
you bargained for yet
I’ve been dying to tell you
anything you want to hear
The music is brash, exciting, accomplished and pure rockin’ pop magic. The verses are slurred, sung by a young man drunk on love and puzzlement. The release into the chorus is a magnificent hook, softening, computing the odds, figuring the future:
Drop a heart, break a name
We’re always sleeping in, and
sleeping for the wrong team
The battle of the sexes rages on. And on. Guitars and drums crash, a great drone that can’t drown the fears and surges of hope.
We’re going down, down in an earlier round
And Sugar, we’re going down swinging
I’ll be your number one with a bullet
A loaded god complex, cock it and pull it
Patrick Stump (left) is a wild-eyed innocent, like one of those children found in the forests of Europe who was raised by wolves, or some other similar fiction. He’s trying to fit, thirsting for love but succumbing to what he sees as his potential mate’s blazing lust. Wentz’s wordplay on “number one with a bullet” conveys that once you reach #1 on the charts there is only one place to go – down. And is there a slight hint that the boy and girl have had and lost an earlier relationship?
Then a surprise. He’s got a rival. What, what? The twist, the perhaps too eruditely forced twist, boggles, but the music carries it all forward on a tidal wave of troubled, chaotic, punkish, metallic sound. The backing voices become involved in ripe, rash counter-melody singing. Truly superb as they rip pages and pages from the big book of Rock.
Is this more than you bargained for yet
Oh don’t mind me I’m watching you two from the closet
Wishing to be the friction in your jeans
Isn’t it messed up how I’m just dying to be him
I’m just a notch in your bedpost
But you’re just a line in a song
Sugar, we’re goin down…
The hard side of The Beatles; the droning of Glam Rock and the crazed sonic booms of Guns N’ Roses show up like a reunion of all the decades of Rock-N-Roll. Fallout Boy drops in and acts dangerous but with a wry smile on its collective face.
They tell us that the story never really changes even though the words and styles of music constantly do.
- Lyric-writer and bass player for Fall Out Boy, Peter Wentz said: “I wrote the lyrics in Chicago. I was with my dad, and we were listening to the old music where they’d always say ‘sugar’ and ‘honey’ – stuff like that. I was like, ‘Why doesn’t anyone do that anymore?’ Be we really locked it down in California.”
- Wentz also said, half-joking about the song: “This song is about sex, but not just any sex, the best sex I ever had. It was back last year when we were on tour, so in my bunk, I woke to the friction in my jeans. This is about the sex you have with yourself. Give it up for the mother-fucking right hand.”