What Fall Out Boy Taught Me About English Class and the Best Quote I’ve Ever Conjured Up

Over the past few weeks, I’ve become acclimated to the Fall Out Boy song “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark” from hearing it forty-eleven times at arenas during the AHL’s Calder Cup Playoffs. Most people probably think it’s called “Light Em Up,” since they say that a million times during the song (and ironically right after the namesake phrase). It’s a relatively upbeat tune, but if you break the lyrics down, it’s about as emo and/or gibberish as any other FOB hit. Once I found out what the real title was, it made me ponder if the song was just meant to be a tribute to the good ole days for the band with its confusing lyrical nature, even though it had a different sound than their work from years ago. Maybe the line, “light em up” was supposed to be a dig at people who may criticize the song in the first place, saying, “go ahead and bash us.”

After thinking about it for approximately 0.2 seconds, I noticed what a waste of time it was to think about something so trivial. They seemed to be venturing into different territory with their big-moment-preparatory song, instead of the band’s usual fun I’m-spouting-nothing-for-no-reason melodies, but the song still didn’t make sense. Did I honestly think they’d put that much meaning into a song about setting crap on fire?

(If I wanted a musically-relevant response, I could just tell the band what Florence does: you’re giving me such sweet nothing.)

Normally, I’d learn nothing from such a weird song that many people won’t remember five years from now, and you would have wasted your time by reading this post. Somehow, I had an epiphany instead. Boy do I wish I knew how that happened.

If all assumptions were questions, the world would be a better place.

Instead of assuming the song had no meaning, it wasn’t a waste to give it some extra thought. When it comes to the cockamamie theories some high school (and college) teachers arrive at about how this character’s moves actually represent the destruction of society or some other huge theme, maybe having assumptions for or against those statements isn’t such a good idea. After all, they do at least occasionally have merit to them.

On a much more important note to the world outside of the bubble of Academia, you could make the same point about things like stereotypes. Turning those beliefs into questions that we try to confirm or deny with facts is a simple way to turn some of our worst biases into productive experiences. If it turns out that what we believed all along is true, then we have a rational basis to the thought. If it’s wrong, we can stop sounding like babbling idiots and either not mention it or man up and find out why that is true.

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