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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In the early aughts, FOB was the reigning champion of emo pop-punk. The elongated song titles and obtrusive lyricism of bassist Pete Wentz were as nonsensical as they were allegorical, making for legendary emo bars like "The best way to make it through / With hearts and wrists intact / Is to realize two out of three ain't bad."

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PREMIERE | Fall Out Boy is your “Champion”

Fall Out Boy's latest single is the anthem you need right now.

Some songs are timeless, just as bopping and relevant no matter the decade you're bopping to it. Then there's songs like Fall Out Boy's new single "Champion" which reek of the era in which it was made so strongly that you can almost hear the sound bites of Paul Ryan defending the Republican's new healthcare plan playing in the background. "Champion" does not have any actual sound bites, but it may as well - between the marketing surrounding the release and the song itself, the sense of defiance and need for support and unity is unmistakable.

via Twitter

"Champion" opens with a lone electric guitar and a feeling of tension like the moment before a fight breaks out that Patrick Stump has perfected in Fall Out Boy's sound over the years. (See "Sugar We're Going Down," "The Take Over, The Break's Over" and "Uma Thurman," to name a few.) Stump follows with vocals as aggressive and provocative as the mood would suggest. The pre-chorus and chorus, taken together, are like an anthem just dying to be screamed from cars and rooftops.

"We're young enough not to know what to believe in. If I can live through this, I can do anything."

The whole song is a deep, smashing hit, hinting more at the heroic ideals that their previous single off the new album Mania did. "Young and Menace" had a music video that was downright cinematic, featuring Brendon Urie in a monster suit and a small girl fighting off her demons in a trippy, neon-lit universe. "Champion" follows that vibe in a very obvious way with its call-to-arms.

The track also bears a striking resemblance to one of the band's earlier releases off their 2013 release Save Rock and Roll. Both songs were the second singles in their respective release cycles, and both are defiant, empowering anthems with swelling strings behind them. "Champion" swapped out be orchestra for electric guitar, but the mood each evokes is still the same.

But while "Phoenix" was for Fall Out Boy, "Champion" is for their fans. Listening to "Phoenix" gave one the unmistakable understanding that Fall Out Boy was back and stronger than ever, and that they were ready to take up the full mantle of rock celebrity icons and sound good doing it. "Champion" is those rock icons stepping up to the plate not to grow and defend their legacy, but to protect the legacies and lives of their fans.

After American Beauty/America Psycho, it seems like Fall Out Boy are returning to the same mindset that carried them through the Save Rock and Roll era with aggression, rock, and dark guitar.With lofty goals from the band and high hopes from the fans, it's likely the boys will at the very least surpass Katy Perry as motivational role models (if not in the "woke pop" genre).

The nation held its breath in quiet hope Tuesday morning as Chris Brown announced that he was "probably" quitting music after the release of his forthcoming album X. (The reason, as always, was the haters, specifically those in "mainstream America.")

But will Brown ever make good on his promise? Let's check in on the histories of other artists who promised to quit the music industry recently. Did any of them ever actually leave the game behind for good?

WHO: Adele

WHEN: February 2012

WHY: For love (literally: "Adele: I'm Quitting Music For Love")

DID IT STICK? Sort of. A few months later she recorded the Bond anthem "Starfall," but there's been nothing since.

WHO: Fantasia

WHEN: April 2013

WHY: "I didn’t want to do anything that I wasn’t true to."

DID IT STICK? No. Her label introduced her to producer Harmony Samuels, who helped her make Side Effects of You, the album she was promoting at the time of the interview. (Handy how that works.)

WHO: Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy

WHEN: March 2012

WHY: "Haters."

DID IT STICK? No. Fall Out Boy reunited earlier this year, releasing the critically acclaimed Save Rock and Roll.

WHO: Toni Braxton

WHEN: February 2013

WHY: "I don't know what it is... My heart's not in it anymore."

DID IT STICK? No. She's currently recording a duets album with Babyface, to be released next month.

WHO: James Blunt

WHEN: October 2012

WHY: "I just want to take some time out for myself."

DID IT STICK? No. Blunt revealed later that he was just joking.

WHO: Phil Collins

WHEN: March 2011

WHY: Health troubles, including hearing loss and nerve damage, from decades of performing.

DID IT STICK? Yes! It looks like medical issues are the only thing that can truly force a pop star into an early retirement. (Don't get any big ideas, Breezy haters...)

Patrick Stump has a lot to celebrate this year. For one thing, Fall Out Boy just released their first album since 2008 Save Rock and Roll, which we straight-up love.

Stump has made recently some very noticeable and positive transformations. Between Fall Out Boy efforts, he focused on his solo career, receiving high praise for his innovative artistic direction in albums Soul Punk and Truant Wave. On top of this, Stump proved no slump at the gym; he slimmed down and is looking better than ever. See for yourself!








We're not saying looks are everything. We're just saying 29 looks really, really good on Sir Stump.


Fall Out Boy's first album since 2008, Save Rock And Roll, is grand and sweeping, with the widescreen ambition of an action flick—or perhaps a movie musical about the perils of love, lust, notoreity, and getting older. Popdust took a very close listen so we could break it down for you track by track. (Meanwhile, read this if you're wondering whether rock's ready to be saved.)

"The Phoenix"

Save Rock And Roll doesn't begin so much as it announces itself, a flurry of strings setting the stage for frontman Patrick Stump to growl, "Put on your war paint!" "The Phoenix" serves as an overture of sorts for the album, whooshing through ferocious verses and a tender pre-chorus on which Stump lets loose his croon before arriving at its hip-shaking chorus. Its sturm und drang doesn't let up until the end, setting the stage for a maxed-out album.

Popdust Says: 4/5

"My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light 'Em Up)

"Fall Out Boy signaled their return with this anxious rocker, where a chorus of onlookers whoa-ohs and claps their way through a rousing hook while Joe Trohman's ringing guitar and Stump's vocal get in the ring. The frenetic, claustrophobic atmosphere and military-school count-off before the bridge bring to mind Folie A Deux lead single "I Don't Care," although that song's precision is swapped in for a beat that actually swaggers.

Popdust Says: 4/5

"Alone Together"

One of the album's sweetest offerings sonically thanks to its puppy-love chorus, "Alone Together" glides along, although it's not completely hearts-and-flowers. The chorus's idea of love transforming someone into a Dorian Gray type is nothing new, but it's balanced by battle-scarred verses that include lines like "This is the road to ruin/ And we're starting at the end." (It's probably worth noting here that lyricist Pete Wentz is 33—not AARP age, but almost out of the young-adult demo.) Stump declares "Lets be alone together!" and a chorus of "hey"s meets up with him, as if the inevitable response were "yes, let's."

Popdust Says: 4.5/5

"Where Did the Party Go"

Fusing a snaky disco-punk bassline with lyrics that lament the inevitable passing of time ("My old aches become new again/ my old friends become exes again"), this "na na na"-filled track rides a vibe that recalls Stump's stellar 2011 unrequited-love diatribe "Everybody Wants Somebody" into the night. But not too late into the night, mind you.

Popdust Says: 4/5

"Just One Yesterday" (feat. Foxes)

"Rolling In the Deep" comparisons are going to be inevitable for this lost-love lament, which storms in like Adele's monster hit before toning down the drama and upping the moody reflectiveness. British singer Foxes (also heard on Zedd's minor Hot 100 success "Clarity") is a backing-vocal counterpoint on the chorus, cooing "I know I'm bad news/ I saved it all for you" after each repetition of the song's title. She then takes center stage on the bridge, sounding achingly vulnerable as she outlines her plan for emotional manipulation—a duality that makes "Just One Yesterday" as potent as the most bombastic pop track.

Popdust Says: 4/5

"The Mighty Fall" (feat. Big Sean)

Chimes and nervous "la la las" bring to mind the twisted goth-gone-wild movie scores of Danny Elfman, and the razors-edge Joe Trohman guitar line that rises up to join it only adds to the anxious atmosphere. The lyrical flip of "the mighty fall" on the chorus (they fall "in love," of course!) is signaled pretty brightly by the bad-romance verses ("there's chemicals keeping us together," "two's a whole lot lonelier than one") but the grandiose way Stump elongates the "a" on the chorus's "fall" is one of the biggest thrills on an album stuffed with them. Unfortunately, Big Sean's demi-entendre-filled verse is pretty awful (and its "a dick to"/"addicted to you" punchline is a direct rip of Simple Plan's "Addicted"), though the one-two punch of the song's Elfman-like opening and him going "Fall Out... Boyyyyy" almost excuses his presence. Almost.

Popdust Says: 4/5

"Miss Missing You"

Fall Out Boy's own "Heart Of Glass," only with Stump's fiery vocal replacing Debbie Harry's ice-princess chill. Pop bliss, right down to the teary acoustic ending.

Popdust Says: 5/5

"Death Valley"

The churning chorus and heaping teaspoons of falsetto bring to mind a less sonically crowded take on Folie A Deux's tense "Tiffany Blews"—that is, until the bridge, when Stump sings "I will get you high," the music wobbles, and we find ourselves in the middle of The Drop. Complex comment on the relationship between chemical bliss and the new generation of dance music or "hey, this could be a fun thing" studio decision? Either way, it works pretty well and is followed by the chorus returning and almost immediately plummeting into a canyon—giving the song's title a fitting sonic complement.

Popdust Says: 4.5/5

"Young Volcanoes"

The next video from Save Rock And Roll will accompany this track—not too surprising, since it sounds more in line with the current rock-radio trends of wordless backing vocals, chiming guitars, handclaps, and stomping drums than any other track on the record. But Fall Out Boy are just, well, better at fusing big musical gestures with sweeping proclamations than the suspender-wearing hordes clogging up playlists at the moment; the giggle that Stump lets out after singing the line "We will teach you how to make boys next door/ out of assholes" makes plain why.

Popdust Says: 4.5/5

"Rat A Tat" (feat. Courtney Love)

That Courtney Love is on a Fall Out Boy record is pretty fitting; the Hole singer's grunge-glam '90s persona occupied the same pop-cultural place that Pete Wentz did at his most TMZ-chronicled. Here, she's brought in to declare "It's Courtney, bitch"—speaking of gossip-page darlings—and speed through a monologue about fire and bombs before the racing guitars careen into the picture. "Rat A Tat" blends the methodical (Andy Hurley's stopwatch drumming) and the frantic (a buried, plunked-out synth line) before opening up into a flag-waving chorus. It's pretty funny, too; the VIP-guest conceit of "St. Peter's list" isn't explicit, but it's definitely there.

Popdust Says: 4/5

"Save Rock And Roll" (feat. Elton John)

Folie A Deux's big showpiece was the teary "What A Catch, Donnie," which closed out with a cameo from Elvis Costello and pals of the band singing snatches of earlier Fall Out Boy hits. This time out, the rolling anthem "Save Rock And Roll" fills that spot; famed troubadour Elton John sits down with Stump at the piano to sing "You are what you love/ not who loves you" in a cadence that directly recalls the chorus of Fall Out Boy's 2005 breakthrough "Sugar We're Goin' Down." (Putting John and Stump on the same song also shows how similar the two singers' enunciation styles can get.) The weariness swells until key change, which sets the stage for a chorus rising up to sing "Oh no, we won't go/ 'cause we don't know when to quit, oh no," over and over, the intensity increasing each time. It does eventually fade out, but on the tail of this heavens-reaching album, it's hard not to hope that lyric signals Fall Out Boy will be back in action for a while.

Popdust Says: 4.5/5