Fall Out Boy and Panic! at the Disco were the two biggest names in 2000s emo. They once had a major rivalry. Their rivalry has cooled down in recent years, however, it was strong for so long it’s still common for fans to compare the two bands.
The two bands get compared because of their similar fan bases. Both Fall Out Boy and Panic! at the Disco have incredibly dedicated fans who want to see them succeed. This raises a question: Whose fan base is buying more of their albums?
Fall Out Boy’s ‘Mania’ vs. Panic! at the Disco’s ‘Pray for the Wicked’
Fall Out Boy’s last album was called Mania. The album boasted the unique lyrics which put the band on the map over a decade ago. However, the band expanded their sound by incorporating elements of EDM, such as in the record’s lead single, “Young and Menace.”
Panic! At the Disco’s latest album, Pray for the Wicked, was similar. It featured more influences from pop music than previous Panic! records. Thanks to the poppy singles “High Hopes” and “Hey Look Ma, I Made It,” the album helped introduce Panic! to audiences who may have never previously heard of their music or the band’s only member, Brendon Urie.
Both of these albums were risks. Did Fall Out Boy’s risk pay off? It really depends on how you define success.
How the two albums sold
Mania sold the equivalent of 130,000 copies in its first week if streaming is counted. The New York Times noted these sales numbers were staggering when compared to most other bands who originated from the 2000s emo scene. Despite this, these numbers were a step down for Fall Out Boy.
By comparison, the band’s previous record, American Beauty/American Psycho, moved 218,000 album-equivalent units in its first week. This is attributable to Mania’s lack of a hit single. “Young and Menace” from Mania didn’t perform as well on the charts as “Centuries” and “Uma Thurman,” singles from the band’s previous effort American Beauty/American Psycho.
In contrast, Panic!’s album Pray for the Wicked moved 180,000 album-equivalent units in its first week. Pray for the Wicked didn’t sell as many copies in its first week as the previous Panic! at the Disco record, Death of a Bachelor, which sold 190,000. However, Panic! Did not face as steep a drop in sales as Fall Out Boy did.
The key to Panic!’s triumph was also the key to Fall Out Boy’s underwhelming sales figures: singles. Pray for the Wicked gave us “High Hopes” and “Hey Look Ma, I Made It,” both of which were ubiquitous. Will Fall Out Boy regain their momentum? Will Urie keep his momentum? Time will tell.