Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Fame

Album: single release only (2010)
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  • This is a song by American experimental electro-pop band Black Cards, who were formed in July 2010 as Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz' new main project. Wentz explained to Artist Direct why the band chose to showcase this track on their website before they'd released any material. "We debated lots of different things. I just want to put more and more music out there, in general. To me, the album is so vast. It goes from one really musically dark perspective to a way more pop perspective. 'Dr Jekyll and Mr. Fame' felt like it fit in the middle between the two. Everyone agreed not to put out the extremities first. Obviously, the first thing you put out is what people think of your band as. There will be songs on the record that are so far to the right or to the left of 'Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Fame.'"
  • Wentz explained to Artist Direct: "The song picks up where I was thinking about life when Fall Out Boy put out Infinity On High, but I don't think I really explained the story the way I should've. I also don't think it probably made sense to a lot of people, but it was cool to revisit the idea. That's one of the other reasons I wanted to get it out there."

    Infinity On High was released in 2006 as Fall Out Boy's fourth album. The title was taken from a letter written by troubled Dutch post-Impressionist artist Vincent van Gogh to his brother Theo in 1888, in which he described his renewed health and the vigor it had instilled in his painting. Van Gogh's exact phrasing has been translated as "Be clearly aware of the stars and infinity on high. Then life seems almost enchanted after all."
  • This track finds Wentz looking at the nature of fame. It is not the first time the Fall Out Boy bassist has written lyrics about the topic and he told Artist Direct: "As far as talking about fame, I feel like there was always this condemnation in the lyrics that made it seem like, 'Oh, famous guy complaining about fame!' I never really feel like I talked about the allure of it and the reason that people become famous. There's also the dance you do around wanting make your art but needing a certain amount of attention on your art. I've been able to watch it in my own life and see different people at different levels of it. I've never written a story where the character buys into it, and I wanted that to happen. I think that's what 'Dr. Jekyll' does more than anything, especially in the chorus. At the end of the day, I understand why people will buy into fame, and it makes sense. It's not complaining or saying anyone is an idiot; this is just another narrative that exists."
  • The song title comes from the nickname 'Jekyll and Hyde,' used for a person displaying two completely different characters, one respectable, the other not. The phrase is derived from the eponymous character in Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886) who, by means of a drug, could switch between good and evil in his own nature.
    Stevenson wrote the story within in his Bournemouth Villa after a bad dream, which outlined the plot. The nightmare consisted of a man being pressed into a cabinet where he swallowed a drug and changed into another being. Stevenson based his tale on William Brodie a respected businessman and Edinburgh town councillor by day and a leader of a gang of robbers by night, who was eventually caught. The Scottish novelist showed the short story to his wife who suggested it should be a full length allegory, rather than just an essay, so he burnt the manuscript and rewrote it in three days. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde originally appeared as a shilling shocker before becoming one of Stevenson's most successful novels.


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