Guilty Pleasures, Round One: Journey (3) vs. Fall Out Boy (14)

EW’s Music Mix is searching for the Greatest Guilty Pleasure Musical Act of All Time. With 32 seeded contestants (see all the matchups), this tournament is sure to change hearts, minds, and lives for weeks to come. Read/listen to the following, and then cast your vote in the poll after the jump; reader comments will be used in subsequent rounds, so we encourage you to also post a comment explaining why you chose the way you did. Note: In case of a tie, please select the artist you feel more ashamed to adore. Thank you.

Journey Fall Out Boy


This is not the first time I’ve publicly admitted my enjoyment of Journey. Hell, it’s not even the second. I’ve spilled my guts about these melodic rockers so many times around here that you’d think I’d  have moved past embarrassment by now. Forget it. Whenever I’m strolling around New York City and a Journey song pops up on my iPod via shuffle mode, I’m instantly wearing the same look my dog Tosh had on so many Thanksgivings ago when he ate an entire turkey while my parents’ backs were turned. Which is to say: blissfully, ecstatically guilty!

Why the shame? Because however musically skilled these dudes were — and yes, singer Steve Perry fully deserved to be nicknamed “The Voice” during Journey’s 1980s heyday — there is just something so deliciously… corny about them. They wrote songs — oh so many songs — about being lonely on the tour bus. Their power ballads are so ooey-gooey they practically drip Mrs. Buttersworth. (And now I cooooooome to yoooooou! With open arms!) Their overall image was so innocuous that the media dubbed them “corporate rock,” critics summarily dismissed them, and your parents probably tapped their fingers approvingly to “Any Way You Want It” while driving you to school in the morning. Badass? Don’t make me laugh.

But to the hell with the haters! And who cares if one of Journey’s greatest, most enduring hits, “Don’t Stop Believin’,” is about a city boy born and raised in the geographic non-entity of “South Detroit”? The sound of Perry hitting those vein-popping high notes here, there, and everywhere in their catalog of uber-earnestness remains musical Zoloft to my ears.

Just please, don’t tell anyone, okay? — Missy Schwartz


I am a 34 year old female. I do lots of adult things — recycle, get the oil changed in the sensible foreign compact car I bought used, visit the dentist twice a year. I pay taxes. I wear earplugs at karaoke.

I also sing Fall Out Boy songs at karaoke. “Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down,” mostly, but I’ve also been known to do “This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race,” and if their cover of “Beat It” was available, I’d do that, too. I listen to Fall Out Boy on planes, turn it up loud and pull up the hood of my black sweatshirt to cover my oversized DJ headphones. I may be the only person who simultaneously reads the New Yorker and listens to Fall Out Boy in that context, but I can’t be sure. When I’m standing in baggage claim, I crank the volume so I don’t have to hear the inane chatter of the people around me. Sometimes I play air drums. I like to think that everyone is watching and imagining me to be one seriously hard-core chick who’s maybe in a band or something. The truth is, they probably think “Why is that 34 year old woman acting like a Hot Topic employee?” The answer is, I have no f—ing idea.

It was From Under the Cork Tree that hooked me, one long-ago afternoon in my cubicle at EW. I’m not even sure why I put the CD on — maybe I was feeling nostalgic for some long-ago afternoon at Warped Tour — but they had me from the first Duran Duran-esque camera snaps, and by the end of it I was in my editor’s office begging to review the album. I believe that, before cooler heads prevailed, I was trying to give it an A+. There’s no logical way to explain my sudden and complete love affair with a pop-punk (please — they are so not emo) band, except that our brains are computers fired by a series of electrical impulses, and music is math. Thus, it would stand to reason that every once in a while, a certain binary combination just… clicks. My relationship with Fall Out Boy must be what the dude who invented Pac-Man felt the first time he put a little red bow on his hero’s head: It’s both completely ridiculous, and ridiculously awesome.

Being honest, I roll my eyes at their off-stage antics, and I hate everything else on Decaydance. (Okay, Panic! at the Disco’s Pretty. Odd. was good. Have I said too much?) Their fanbase frightens me, and the one time I went to a show I needed my aforementioned earplugs more for the screeching girls around me than the band on stage. I’m not even going to front like they’re artistic innovators — yeah, they demonstrate a surprisingly strong understanding of songcraft and production trickery, but if I want to get all fancy I’ll listen to MCR’s The Black Parade instead (oops, have I said too much again?) — and I’m pretty sure everything but the first three tracks of Infinity on High just flat-out sucked. But I spent 11 days at the Sundance Film Festival this January, and every time I got on a shuttle bus, I turned up Folie A Deux, pulled my hood over my head, and closed my eyes. And for just a second there in the unending traffic jam of Park City, I smiled. That’s magic. And that’s the whole point of music, right? Um… right? — WP

Want to vote in a previous matchup? Click here to visit Guilty Pleasure Bracket Central!

Photo Credit: Journey: Roger Ressmeyer/Corbis

Comments (65 total) Add your comment
Page: 1 2 3 4
  • Vivi

    I don’t think Fall Out Boy should be considered a guilty pleasure. They are a great band with successful albums. And critics love them. There’s not to feel guilty bout!

    Now, Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” IS a guilty pleasure song. I get embarrassed (but with a smile) when the song comes on and I’m singing like the whole freakin’ song. They should thank their lucky stars to “Glee” for making the song relevant again. Oh and AI 8’s cause that’s their big finale song at their concert.

    • Ella

      Are you retarded? Have you listened to Fall Out Boy? They are the “rock” equivelent to formula pop….if they were chicks with boobs they would be considered Pop Tarts….because they have guitars they are “metal”…..whateves.

      Furthermore, I don’t think Journey needs to rely on anyone to make them relevant. “Don’t Stop Believing” is ALWAYS relevant. I get embaressed, without a smile, when I read crap like this.

  • paige

    who the hell is Fall Out Boy?

  • Jill

    I don’t get this one. What’s wrong with Journey? I was in middle school and high school during their heyday and all these years later I still love to listen to them. I’m not embarrassed to say that at all.

    I can’t stand Fall Out Boy. Definitely not my style.

  • Charles

    I have nothing against Fall Out Boy, they’ve got some catchy songs. But Journey has had dozens of hit songs and have been legends, for better or worse, for almost 3 decades now. I’d hardly consider them a “guilty” pleasure. Just great musicians giving the people what they want. Or at least most of the people…

  • JP

    I loved Jourmey’s music while I was teenager and I still love it and I ma not ashamed to say so. They sold out arenas and sold millions of records. I particulary like their older stuff such as Wheel In The Sky, Lights and The Party’s Over. Let’s face it their music will live on long after Fall Out Boy’s music.

  • JP



    FALL OUT BOY? Who’s that?
    I just love Journey, Steve Perry is the ultimate voice that I could listen to everyday! No guilt – none at at all! I hope he comes out of retirement someday to sing to us again. It’s like he sings to (us) ya know. I have gotten through some real tough stuff because of Journey’s music and I could not have lived through somethings without it. So what if Journey is considered a ballad band, I must say “Girl can’t help it” is so great and “Mother, Father” is without question his finest vocal, no doubt had to be exhaustive on his vocals. My most favorite (I think) is either “Be good to yourself” or “Girl can’t help it”. I was 14 in 1978 when I fell in love with “Wheel in the sky”, at 18 “Stoned in love” was a knock out! I thought I would die when I heard “If you love a woman” around 1996. I think Journey (with Steve) was the best rock band ever and in the world and will live into “Infinity”! I also love Steve’s solo stuff, “You better wait” is fantastic too. I could never get enough!

  • chris

    no shame in like Journey. lots of shame in liking fall out boy, and thank god i don’t.

  • alex

    i feel more guilty about fall out boy than i do about journey. but whitney, i love this article.. made me laugh

  • MsDaisy

    Journey by a mile – with or without Randy Jacksons.

  • Tara

    Ok, this one was hard for me. I love them both– but the one I feel guiltier about is definitely fall out boy. Having just graduated from college I can find hundreds of other kids who would proudly wail don’t stop believin’ at two a.m. However I have friends who I am embarrassed to see look at my ipod and scroll past FOB because I know that the scoffs will soon follow– so fall out boy wins.

    • Jamie B.

      I second that. I really like them both but I won’t admit to FOB. I’ll sing Journey all day long, all day strong, no shame!

  • mom7801

    Journey–for Steve Perry’s voice alone.

    • Connor

      this isn’t about which band is better, it’s about which band you feel guiltier about liking. There’s a difference!

  • Dee

    None of these r guilty pleasures!!! first up, why the hell is Journey not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!!!!!!! and Fall Out Boy!!!! Patrick Stump has an amazing voice, and the drummer is amazing!!!!

  • Rhonda

    Wierd Coincidence: FOB sang a journey song during last night’s concert

    • jaseyrae

      haha i saw that on pete’s blog!
      fall out boy has to be my one of my favorite bands in the world but there is no denying that journey is amazing [:

    • Carrie

      yeah they sang Don’t Stop Beleivin’ on the 9th too with Brendon Urie, I liked it

  • Kai

    dunno.. those two aren’t the worst! some Hall & Oats songs I like, which I actually have guilt for x)

Page: 1 2 3 4
Add your comment
The rules: Keep it clean, and stay on the subject - or we may delete your comment. If you see inappropriate language, e-mail us. An asterisk (*) indicates a required field.

When you click on the "Post Comment" button above to submit your comments, you are indicating your acceptance of and are agreeing to the Terms of Service. You can also read our Privacy Policy.

Latest Videos in Music


From Our Partners

TV Recaps

Powered by VIP