(Un)Covered: What’s This?

Jack Skellington vs Fall Out Boy By | November 9, 2016 at 1:00 PM

“What’s This?”
Writers: Danny Elfman
Original Release Date: October 12, 1993

If “This is Halloweenis my favorite Halloween song, then “What’s This?” is my favorite gearing-up-for-the-winter-holidays song.

This scene features all the best elements of the Christmas season: decorating trees, colored lights, and delicious desserts. I’m not overly fond of snow (you wouldn’t be either if you lived in Canada where winter lasts for at least six months), but even I have to admit that there’s something magical about Jack’s first encounter with the white fluff. His eye sockets get wider and while I wouldn’t recommend eating snow, the wonder in his face when he takes a bite is just precious. The song itself is bright and cheerful, featuring a beautiful strings arrangement that manages to convey all sorts of emotions, from excitement to a sense of longing. Danny Elfman lists the many wonders of Christmas Town in an almost staccato way, pushing the idea that Jack can’t quite understand what he’s seeing and is just cataloguing it in his brain to mull over later. Coming right after his emotional lament, it shows how discovering this new world completely turns Jack’s mood around and gives him a new creative outlet.

It’s hard to match the amount of wonder and awe in Jack’s voice, but Patrick Stump gives it his soulful all in this cover. FOB’s take is definitely more rock ‘n’ roll than the original, with the guitars turned all the way up and some subtle piano, and it seems faster paced in general, but that’s part of the fun. They manage to get Jack’s excitement across to us in an almost frenzied way and it certainly works on me: nothing gets me more amped for the Christmas season than this song. Special shout out to Andy Hurley’s drumming which provides such a solid base for Pete Wentz and Joe Trohman’s fancy bass/guitar work, respectively, though we all know that Patrick Stump truly carries this song.

If you’re going to listen to the original, make sure you’re watching the movie at the same time for a truly immersive experience, otherwise the FOB version will do if you need a quick shot of Christmas flavored joy.

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