Pop-punk band Fall Out Boy dropped an updated version of Billy Joel‘s “We Didn’t Star The Fire,” and it is already making waves across social media. The original track came out in 1989, and reflected the anxieties and uncertainties of Gen X. Fall Out Boy updated the lyrics to include the most significant newsworthy events from 1989 to present day 2023. These range from the tragedies of Columbine and 9/11 to the COVID-19 pandemic, the death of Queen Elizabeth II, Kanye West interrupting Taylor Swift onstage at the MTV VMAs, and plenty in between.
The ambitious rewrite is attracting mixed reviews. The band encompassed over a decade of significant world events into the track, and many commend their ability to stick to the formula of Joel’s original cult favorite song while making it their own. The song has many listeners realizing how chaotic the past three decades have been. Millennials and Gen Z have particularly lived through a series of historic events.
— Travis Hymas (@TravisHymas) June 28, 2023
Social Media Reactions
Some loved Fall Out Boy’s pop-punk personalized take on the infamous song, and the reflections it offered on the younger generation. Not only have global politics seen a turbulent several years, but Gen Z continues to capture the fall out through social media, creating an unprecedented phenomenon.
— The Most Polite Of Voids (@Polite_Void) June 28, 2023
Fall Out Boy releasing an updated version of We Didn't Start The Fire that includes this verse is just excellent 2023ing pic.twitter.com/FnjS7d8WMi
— Chris Deeley (@ThatChris1209) June 28, 2023
Others were left confused by the song’s lack of chronological order. Joel’s original version listed the newsworthy events in the order in which they took place. Fall Out Boy’s version prioritized catchy rhymes rather than the order of events mentioned, leaving some listeners feeling confused.
The band is also selling the track on vinyl in homage to its original 1980s debut.
— Fall Out Boy (@falloutboy) June 28, 2023
Billy Joel is yet to speak on the cover, but as fans have made clear, he will always be the one who started the fire.