Well, it’s finally here. After much consternation and hand-wringing, [artist id="1235716"]Fall Out Boy[/artist] premiered their video for “What a Catch, Donnie” on Thursday morning (August 6) on MTV. And by the time you’ve read this sentence, those whispers that it might just be the band’s final video will have probably graduated to a full-blown roar.
Because, despite FOB’s insistence that “Donnie” isn’t a goodbye so much as it’s “a cliffhanger,” the clip plays as one long swan song. Much like the song itself, it’s nostalgic — there are nods to at least half a dozen previous videos in it — and symbolic: Fall Out frontman Patrick Stump piloting a rickety ship out toward the horizon, stopping occasionally to salvage bits of the band’s past. And that’s not even counting the ending, which is like getting walloped over the head by one giant metaphor.
The video opens with Stump as the solitary sailor, plinking on a piano, scribbling in a journal and staring out at the vast seascape. We don’t know how long he’s been on this voyage, or even where he’s going, but we know he’s very much alone, and the days have taken to dragging into weeks (or even months). Eventually, the monotony is broken up when a wayward seagull lands on his ship, and Stump nurses it back to health — a nod, Wentz told MTV News, to the life of reclusive genius Nikola Tesla. And then things start getting interesting.
Off in the distance, Stump notices a sinking ship and an accompanying trail of wreckage. But this isn’t your average flotsam and/or jetsam; it’s literally pieces of Fall Out Boy’s past. The antlers from their breakout “Sugar, We’re Going Down” video. The striped coat Stump wore in the clip for “Dance, Dance.” The giant “FOB” backdrop from “Thnks Fr Th Mmrs.” The casket Joe Trohman emerges from (and solos upon) in “This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race.”
Stump fishes them out of the water, then spots a spate of life rafts on the horizon. Sitting on the water are Trohman, drummer Andy Hurley and a host of FOB’s pals, including Panic! at the Disco’s Brendon Urie and Spencer Smith (guess former Panic members Ryan Ross and Jon Walker didn’t make it out alive). Stump pulls all of them aboard, and all of a sudden, his lonely boat has become a floating monument to his band’s past achievements. Instant nostaligia.
But back on the sinking ship — which is now quickly disappearing below the waves — we see Pete Wentz. He’s sitting in the crow’s nest, smiling. He gives a salute as the water envelops him. He’s literally going down with the ship, like any good captain should (I believe this is what we in the business call “a visual metaphor”). This is not noticed by Stump and the rest of his shipmates, who head out to sea — toward the future, and rather happily so.
What happens next? At the moment, we don’t know much of anything. Maybe this is where that mysterious “other video” Wentz mentioned will come into play. Or maybe it won’t, and this really is it for Fall Out Boy (though, knowing them, I sort of doubt it). But if this is their swan song and FOB really are ready to sail off into the sunset, well, “Donnie” is the most fitting farewell I can think of. It’s unquestionably the best video they’ve ever made — visually striking, somber and pretty in tone, smart in subject matter. And if Wentz and company have learned anything over the past half-decade, it’s that it’s always best to go out on top. Even if you’re at the bottom of the ocean.