I’ve mentioned before what a weird place the Hot 100 has become, with country artists rubbing elbows with European arena techno producers and songs from commercials competing against songs from Internet memes. But amidst all of the futuristic rap music and earnestly old-timey folk pop you see very little in the way of alternative rock in the original, 1990s sense of the term, meaning aggressive but melodic guitar rock with at least a vague suggestion of punkish edge. Although it was a regular presence on the pop charts for roughly a decade and a half after Nirvana kicked open the doors, interest in what we might semi-ironically call “traditional” alt rock is in short supply right now.
Fall Out Boy was one of the last groups that turned success in the punk scene into legitimate mainstream superstardom, and with the end of an extended hiatus that they started in 2009 they have become one of the handful of old-school alt rock bands that are currently capable of generating enough buzz to crack the Hot 100. Their new single, which they’ve given the typically verbose title “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up),” entered the charts three weeks ago at number 26, before diving to 60 the next. Right now it’s at 56. In terms of comeback singles its chart performance isn’t very noteworthy, but its lack of resemblance to the group’s past successes is.