When I was a baby in my first year at junior college, Lupe Fiasco put out an album called Food & Liquor. All I remember from that initial listen through was that a female’s voice opened the album. I was hearing a woman speak for a man, introducing a story about the state of life on the southside of Chicago from the perspective of a woman. It was the first time I had ever heard a male artist step back and allow a woman to tell her side of the story. As a young woman it felt important, being given space like that.
I’ve been lucky enough to be a fan of Fall Out Boy through their musical maturity, and it’s a pleasure to listen to their evolution of sound with each new record. Perhaps FOB understands exactly how important that Lupe album was for me as a female fan of rap music, because beginning with Debbie Harry’s guest vocals on West Cost Smoker, where she offers a great chorus of call & response, moving to Courtney Love’s biting spoken word in Rat A Tat, Fall Out Boy has made a conscious effort to pay homage to the greats of rock music. And that’s the thing. It’s not that they’re choosing women; it’s that they’ve established that the basis of rock music would be nothing without the contributions of women.
Naturally, this evening when I clicked the link that nonnonmodernist tweeted, I immediately started crying. Fall Out Boy released a rock anthem based on Suzanne Vega’s “Tom’s Diner”. If you remember nothing else about today, remember this: the foundation of this new FOB single - a song about creating ripples, about continued relevance, a song that will be played on rock radio and hopefully touch a young girl the way that Food & Liquor touched me - was created by a woman.