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Track Review

I'm not a prophet, but I'm going to make a prediction: We'll all be hearing a lot of Fall Out Boy's new single "Champion" in the months to come.

This song sounds like it was written for the express purpose of providing an aggressively catchy rock soundtrack for NFL or NBA highlight reels, or pregame shows where teams run through pyrotechnic displays with their arms raised high, the crowd screaming in anticipation and the PA pumped up to 11.

I don't know who first coined the term "stadium anthem," but this is the kind of song they had in mind.

Outsiders, Dreamers & Believers

Promotional artwork for "Champion" features a nine squares with images of various underdogs who went on to unexpected triumph.

There's actor Sean Astin portraying his iconic character from 1993's Rudy. Buster Douglas popping Mike Tyson in the jaw in his stunning victory over the previously undefeated champ in 1990. Formula One accident survivor Niki Lauda. The '69 Mets triumphing over the Baltimore Orioles. The 1980 U.S. men's Olympic hockey team, among others.

The message here is clear: None of these folks (save, perhaps, DiCaprio) were expected to win. But against huge odds, all of them did. And that's the theme of "Champion," too.

"If I can live through this," the chorus repeats over and over, "I can do anything." Then that one-word chant: "Champion, champion/Champion, champion."

But it's not just any winner Fall Out Boy is singing about. The song zeroes in on those who've reached the pinnacle despite all the obstacles arrayed against them, those who might have been tempted to give up on the idea of winning altogether. "I'm a champion of the people who don't believe in champions," frontman Patrick Stump proclaims. "I got nothing but dreams inside/I got nothing but dreams."

Stump also exhibits youthful idealism ("I'm just young enough to still believe, still believe"), even if the object of that faith isn't quite clear ("But I'm young enough not to know what to believe in").

Alienation, Rage & Madness

If "Champion," both the song and its accompanying video, stopped there, we'd likely be raising our fists in an unabashed salute to it, too. Alas, the song's path to victory detours into some less-than-winning content.

Fall Out Boy can't help but dabble in a bit angst, too. "And I'm back with a madness," Stump sings early on. Later, he pairs that confession with some darker ones: "I got a rage every day on the inside/ … I'm trying to blow out the pilot light, I'm trying to blow out the light."

Though it's not clear from the song exactly what Stump is referring to here, clearly there's a war between the desire to win and the temptation to throw in the towel. Perhaps permanently so, with regard to the latter. Thus, our titular champion teeters on a knife edge between glorious victory and angry self-destruction.

Llamas, Skateboards & Beer

The video for the song adds to the list of concerns. It features members of the band—as well as rapper Post Malone, Russian skateboarder Sewa Kroetkov, and two guys dressed up as a llama and a goat—navigating obstacles at New Jersey's skatepark The Berrics.

If all we saw were guys doing tricks and riding the rails here, we'd be in good shape. Unfortunately, we see some drinking beer and at least one (and perhaps two) crude hand gestures.

Admittedly, these moments are pretty brief in the video. Many fans may casually watch the video and not even notice them. Likewise, lyrical references to rage and self-doubt are not as prevalent as the positive phrase, "If I can live through this/I can do anything."

Still, these caveats are enough to keep us from considering "Champion" an undisputed winner.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

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Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range







Reached No. 10 on Billboard's rock singles chart.

Record Label





June 22, 2017

On Video

Year Published



Adam R. Holz

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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