Music Features

Patrick Stump's 9 Best Vocal Performances

The rocker celebrates his 37th birthday today

Fall Out Boy

As another year has come and gone, it is once again time to wish Patrick Stump a happy birthday.

Many know him as the frontman of Fall Out Boy, everyone's go-to emo band for the better part of the 2000s. But while Pete Wentz's angsty songwriting deserves equal praise, it was Patrick Stump's glossy vocals that gave the group so much candor. He put forth so much bravado in his voice that it made the band's melodramatic themes feel intense and real. In honor of the singer's 37th birthday, here are some of his best vocal performances over the years.

"One and Only"

Once upon a time, Fall Out Boy made a song with Timbaland. "One and Only" off the latter's sophomore solo effort, Shock Value, spawned plenty of crossover hits and practically kick-started OneRepublic's career. But the FOB-collab (which pretty much solely featured Patrick Stump's vocals) was strangely not one of them.

Maybe FOB's teeny fan base couldn't stomach hearing their beloved singer say the F-word, and maybe hip-hop fans found the collab to be corny and not worth their time. Either way, Patrick sounds great, and this was the closest to rapping he's ever been.

"Cupid's Chokehold"

"Cupid's Chokehold" was an inescapable bop in the summer of 2006. Travis McCoy's lovestruck rhymes were melodic and easily digestible, with catchy lyrics like, "I mean she even cooks me pancakes and Alka Seltzer when my tummy aches" sequestering themselves away into your brain, where they would strangely reemerge weeks later as you found yourself unconsciously singing along during the track's timely rotation on commuter radio. The track's equally lighthearted music video also featured a cameo from McCoy's current love interest, Katy Perry, confirming their relationship to the world.

But let's be real: It was Patrick Stump's infectious vocals that kept that track so heavily circulated. In reality, it wasn't even his hook! The chorus was in fact directly sampled from Supertramp's 1979 hit "Breakfast in America." But there was something about the way Stump sang it. He put a little bit of pepper on it, transforming what was initially a slow-burn of a track into a hook fit for any high school dance floor.

"Clothes Off!"

Another Gym Class Heroes collab that was built off the foundation of another song, "Clothes Off!" is technically a rework of Jermaine Stewart's 1986 song "We Don't Have to Take Our Clothes Off." Yet once again, it stands out because of the way Stump sang it.

Released in 2005, "Clothes Off!" emerged when Fall Out Boy was perhaps the biggest band in the country. Buzzing off the reception to their sophomore effort From Under the Cork Tree, the band was soon set to release the biggest album of their career. In turn, Stump's high-pitched soulful warblings were the most coveted sound in music, making "Clothes Off!" a sure-fire hit from the jump.

"Miss Missing You"

While FOB announced their return by enlisting 2 Chainz to set sh*t on fire, day one Fall Out Boy fans cited "Miss Missing You" as the real proof that their band had returned to form, and that they had not forgotten their emo-ballader roots.

Sure, the track was saturated in disco synths and '80s groove, but lyrics like, "Sometimes before it gets better / The darkness gets bigger / The person that you'd take a bullet for is behind the trigger" spoke directly to FOB's grown-up fanbase — who had learned since the petulant f**k you energy of songs like "Thanks fr th Mmrs" that relationships of all sizes were actually extremely complicated. All of it was tied together by Stump's honeyed and yearning voice, which cut us to our core.

"Death Valley"

Another underappreciated hit from Fall Out Boy's Save Rock and Roll, "Death Valley" was raw unfurled energy. Patrick has always had an incredible range, and on "Death Valley" he flexes it throughout. His soulful verses and loud belting chorus explore multiple registers, and it's all tied together by an unexpected and strangely satisfying dubstep drop.

"Reinventing the Wheel to Run Myself Over"

This brief little ditty may have flown under the radar off of FOB's cult classic debut Take This To Your Grave, but it finds Stump and the gang just jamming out and having fun in a straightforward pop-punk fashion, a suit that fits Stump well.

"Beat It" (Featuring John Mayer)

It takes a lot of guts to tackle a Michael Jackson cover, let alone of the singer's biggest hits. But Stump absolutely demolished his reinterpretation of "Beat It." Reworking the funky song into a rockin' emo stadium anthem, the track also features a stand-out guitar solo from John Mayer. As Stump usually does, he gives the song a kick in the ass and never lets up on the gas pedal.

"The (Shipped) Gold Standard"

Folie a Deux was a special album. It was Fall Out Boy's best work by far, yet it went unnoticed and underappreciated, and the reason why has constantly been analyzed.

"The (Shipped) Gold Standard" was a special song. It took the struggle that comes with self-expression and amplified it into a funky, sweeping anthem. "I want to scream 'I love you' from the top of my lungs," croons Stump. "But I'm afraid that someone else will hear me." The song's sentiment aside, its chorus also shows off Stump's impeccable range as he travels into his falsetto, and to this day this remains one of Fall Out Boy's catchiest songs.

"I've Got All This Ringing In My Ears and None on My Fingers"

The Infinity on High closer is full of carnivalesque charm, with Stump leaning full-throttle into his emo sad-boy angst in a way that borders on disturbing. "The truth hurts worse, than anything I could bring myself to do to you," Stump chirps in a piercing falsetto. The track itself sounds strangely soulful and optimistic, driven by funky horns and rhythmic piano, as Stump warbles into multiple registers. It's a fun track and an excellent closer to one of FOB's biggest releases.

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Is this project an indicator of a bigger solo career for you? Will you release original material as a solo act?

"I don't really know how I'm gonna go about it, but this whole product has been something I've been working on for a couple years and just taking my time to get it all ready. Mayday Parade is still first and foremost for me and remains my main focus, but I do plan to get back in [the studio] and put together some original songs, maybe release an EP."

What made you decide now was the time to go solo?

"It's something that I feel like I've wanted to do for a long time. I kind of always thought I'd do something like this, but once I realized I'd been in Mayday Parade for 14 years I kind of thought, 'Gosh, how did that much time go by!' And it kind of started as a fluke, just for fun. The first song on this EP I recorded just for my wife as a Valentine's Day gift, and it kind of turned into this whole other thing from there. It's also just fun to work on other type of music so it just all kinda came together."

How has your wife influenced this project? Why did you decide now was the time to craft this EP for her?

"I've known my wife since I was 15 years old, and we've been friends ever since then. We dated on and off when we were in highschool, but it wasn't until years later that we reconnected, and she has just always been a very important person in my life. 'But Lauren' especially is meaningful cause I used to sing it to her when we were kids. I kinda just decided to do this last minute."

Take me through these covers and why you decided on these particular songs.

"It's just overall songs that I listened to in high school. For me, high school was a big turning point in my life musically, and it inspired me to go on and create the type of music I did with Mayday Parade. So this collection are all bands and songs that mean a lot to me. 'But Lauren,' in particular, was made by a guy named Mike Hanson out of Tallahassee who played music a long time ago, and I really looked up to him, and he never really broke out of Tallahassee, so I'm excited for people now to hear his stuff."

It feels pretty full circle, since Mayday Parade was that band to a lot of kids my age when we were in high school. Why do you think the music during your teenage years is so meaningful and important?

"It's tough to say what it is, but there is just something about it. Most everybody feels that the music in your life that means the most to you kinda ends up being in those years. As you get older, for some reason it's harder to discover a band that really changes your life forever; it doesn't happen as often. But I think a lot of it is just the emotional changes you're going through. Everything feels like such a big deal, and it's hard to see the future. Music becomes incredibly powerful then."

It's funny because Emo is in a bit of a resurgence right now. My Chemical Romance is heading back on tour; you got musicians like the late Juice WRLD and Lil Peep making extremely emotional music. What do you think of modern day Emo?

"I've listened to a bit of it. I host an Emo night every now and then, and the striking thing is the [age range] of people that show up. It's really cool seeing that it's not just a phase for a lot of people."

Where do you go from here, musically?

"This whole year is super busy. Mayday Parade will be releasing new music, and as far as the solo stuff I'm just gonna work in between [Mayday] stuff, but I'm already thinking about what's next. A lot of it isn't set in stone, but that's what's nice about it. I can hop around now and it's not to hard to coordinate."

My Rock and Roll Heart