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My name's Clifford Stumme, and I explain the deeper meanings of popular songs. Let's have a conversation about what you think about the songs and go deeper together. Feel free to email me at clifford@popsongprofessor.com with questions or ideas!

What does "Young and Menace" by Fall Out Boy mean?

What does "Young and Menace" by Fall Out Boy mean?

"Young and Menace" Lyrics Meaning

Fall Out Boy just released their first new song in years. After the success of songs like "Uma Thurman" and "Centuries," I think a lot of Fall Out Boy fans have been waiting for something new from the band, and we now finally know that Fall Out Boy will be releasing a new album called Mania in September of 2017. The lead single off this album is "Young and Menace," and its lyrics are about riding the wave of feelings of isolation, anger and anxiety. 

Music Video Meaning: Maybe we're monsters...

According to NME.com, bassist Pete Wentz says, "It's hard to rationalize rage--it's hard to quantify anxiety. This song does neither. It embraces the wave of those emotions." And if you watch the music video, you'll see this idea played out in how a young girl lives with parents who are not only cruel to each other and to her, but who are actual monsters. Well, later in the video, camera shots cut between the human parents and their monster counterparts. 

The girl runs away from them but finds that no one can understand her. She seems to be speaking another language. The bright lights and loud noises (including a small Fall Out Boy concert) of what looks like beachside California frighten her, and we see that she either returns home or wakes up from what might have been a dream about running away. Either way, she's still trapped with her awful parents who begin throwing things at each other. 

From the music video, we can conclude that "Young and Menace" is a metaphor for any children who live in an unstable home environment and who feel like no one outside of their understands their pain and can empathize. They return to that home, but they have to withdraw even further into themselves. Fall Out Boy is recognizing this demographic's struggles and is providing their music and music videos as a positive outlet for people who feel that way.

In fact, Wentz also told NME about "growing up in the suburbs of Chicago" and how he "didn't look like anyone there or feel like anyone." He goes on to explain that "[i]t wasn't until I discovered punk rock and that community that I realized I did fit in somewhere in this world--with the other people who didn't fit in." And you can see how Fall Out Boy, both with "Young and Menace" and their other songs, reach out to an audience that feels similarly. They provide a common ground for fans of the band to find that community.

Verse 1

We've gone way too fast for way too long
And we were never supposed to make it half this far
And I lived so much life, lived so much life
I think that God is gonna have to kill me twice
Kill me twice like my name was Nikki Sixx
I woke up in my shoes again but somewhere you exist singing

In the first verse of "Young and Menace," Fall Out Boy tells us how crazy their lives feel. Patrick Stump sings, "We've gone way too fast for way too long" and wants to take this song to regroup and re-evaluate the mission of Fall Out Boy and its fans. He's enjoyed the rockstar status he and the band have achieved when he sings, "And I lived so much life, lived so much life / I think that God is gonna have to kill me twice / Kill me twice like my name was Nikki Sixx." Nikki Sixx was part of Motley Crue and legally died twice before being resuscitated each time. He lived a celebrity lifestyle, and Fall Out Boy is here aligning themselves with him.

The line about waking up "in my shoes again" means he didn't go to bed. Either he was out partying and fell asleep, or he was so exhausted that he didn't take the time to take his clothes off. The part about how "somewhere you exist singing" is a little bit more confusing, but the essential idea here could be that the fans of Fall Out Boy are out there cheering the band on, or that someone who inspires the songwriter keeps him writing music and playing.

Chorus

Oops I, did it again, I forgot what I was losing my mind about
Oh, I only wrote this down to make you press rewind
And send a message that I was young and a menace

This stanza gives Fall Out Boy's essential message in "Young and Menace." The purpose of this song is to help listeners and the band refocus on why they're here, joining in community around this music. It gives them help and support. These lyrics focus on the audience and reminds them to "press rewind." The band tells young listeners that they too were once considered "young and a menace." They want their young fans to keep being who they are with "losing [their] mind[s]."

Verse 2

Woke up on the wrong side of reality
And there's a madness that's just coursing right through me
And as far as the time, far as the time
Not sure I'm there yet but I'm searching out the ride

In the lyrics of the second verse of "Young and Menace," Patrick Stump tells us that he "[w]oke up on the wrong side of reality" and mentions the "madness that's just coursing right through" him. He's not sure what to do about it, but he's not going to fight it. He's "searching out the ride." He's going to see where it takes him and go from there. 

Bridge

If I am off the deep end
I'm just here to become the best yet
I'm just here for the psych assessment

The bridge seems like a clear call to and attempt to empathize with Fall Out Boy's fans. They claim to be "off the deep end," to want to "become the best," and to be "here for the psych assessment." They may be a little unstable, they may have their share of demons, but they aren't letting those stop them.

Deeper Meaning of "Young and Menace" by Fall Out Boy: The Riptide

"Young and Menace" seems to be a clear call to fans of the band. They love the band for its ability to channel powerful emotions, and the band knows it. Pete Wentz says in a handwritten note to fans the following:

The gentle pull of a tide that rolls over and over again and by the sheer nature of its essence becomes an indestructible will--ripping out sand--eroding what was before it without a care... A tranformational monster--the madness and frenzy of a truly bullet proof wave... I'm not just here for your love, I'm here for all of the love. The never sleeping, never blinking--caught forever in the sunshine riptide...

The true deeper meaning of "Young and Menace" is to empower people who the world thinks of as young and menacing. The band loves its audience and is strongly appealing to them here, characterizing them as strong and powerful--something that won't quit and won't give up, no matter what others think.

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