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The raving thoughts of a misanthropic academic

June 20, 2007

Song of the Week: This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race

The Pax Plena song of the week comes to you courtesy of Alternative music sensation Fall Out Boy and is titled, This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race.

FOB has been a recent introduction to yours truly although the group has been around on the order of a few years. Like most success stories they seem to have taken off overnight. Today's featured song appears on their latest album Infinity on High which also includes the hit Thnks fr th Mmrs- a tremendous song in its own right albeit a bit bitter.

FOB's music is most easily described as punk-alternative; an admittedly pronounced departure for an ardent country music fan such as myself. But what I enjoy most about FOB's music is its tempo and speed. Anyone needing a shot of adrenaline in the afternoon need look no further than the latest album. Fortunately, the up-beat tempo is seamlessly melded with a cutting edge mix of drums, guitar accompaniment, and even orchestra; all of which combine to underscore the clever lyrics of Pete Wentz and underrated vocals of lead singer Patrick Stump. In terms of style, the sound definitely stays true to its punk origins although there is a bit of R&B mixed in with today's selection.

The lyrics of this song are incredibly well done for a popular album. This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race forcefully presents the importance of free speech and thought for audiences' consideration. If I may indulge my own conjecture, the song also sketches a philosophy for the band's music: arming listeners with the power of words to fight in the battle of ideas. The driving idea behind the song also seems to embrace the medieval notion of singer as bard, poet and scholar. I would normally argue that this role is too much for most public entertainers- after all, how much can Britney Spears and Paris Hilton really contribute to public discourse? But FOB does a good job of rejecting dogma and forcing people to consider their own assumptions; a healthy phenomenon for any culture. In turn, today's song does an unusually good job of marrying provocative lyrics with memorable sound.

The video below tells the story of this tension and presents a complex picture of music in today's society. The band's view of the matter is not clear and leaves any conclusions wonderfully open-ended for listeners and fans to consider themselves. Lyrics follow after the jump. Enjoy.




This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race

I am an arms dealer
Fitting you with weapons in the form of words
And I don't really care, which side wins
As long as the room keeps singing
That's just the business I'm in

This ain't a scene, it's a god damn arms race
This ain't a scene, it's a god damn arms race
This ain't a scene, it's a god damn arms race
I'm not a shoulder to cry on, but I digress

I'm a leading man
And the lies I weave are oh so intricate, oh so intricate
I'm a leading man
And the lies I weave are oh so intricate, oh so intricate

I wrote the gospel on giving up
(You look pretty sinking)
But the real bombshells have already sunk
(Primadonnas of the gutter)
At night we're painting your trash gold while you sleep
Crashing not like hips or cars
No, more like p-p-p-parties

This ain't a scene, it's a god damn arms race
This ain't a scene, it's a god damn arms race
This ain't a scene, it's a god damn arms race
Bandwagon's full. Please, catch another

I'm a leading man
And the lies I weave are oh so intricate, oh so intricate
I'm a leading man
And the lies I weave are oh so intricate, oh so intricate

All the boys who the dance floor didn't love
And all the girls whose lips couldn't move fast enough
Sing until your lungs give out

This ain't a scene, it's a god damn arms race
This ain't a scene, it's a god damn arms race
(Now you)
This ain't a scene, it's a god damn arms race
(Wear out the groove)
This ain't a scene, it's a god damn arms race
(Sing out loud)
This ain't a scene, it's a god damn arms race
(Oh, oh)
This ain't a scene, it's a god damn arms race

I'm a leading man
And the lies I weave are oh so intricate, oh so intricate
I'm a leading man
And the lies I weave are oh so intricate, oh so intricate
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2 comments:

Lauren said...

Great post! I found it very useful. Love the final result. Thanks for the inspiration and the tips.

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Organic, free-range thought courtesy of your average, coffee-addicted, American Indian, academic. Program Manager @IGPatUA.


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