Fall Out Boy's Updated "We Didn't Start the Fire" Has Spawned the Best Memes

Fall Out Boy released their own version of Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire.” FOB’s rendition of the classic song spawned its share of memes.

Jamie Lerner - Author

Jun. 29 2023, Published 12:47 p.m. ET

An updated version of Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” recorded by Fall Out Boy, was not on anyone’s 2023 BINGO card, but here we are. In all fairness, New York City turning orange and a billionaire submersible imploding were probably not there either. But the internet went wild when Fall Out Boy let loose their cover of the classic 1989 rock song.

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Memes started popping up left and right about FOB’s updated cover, which includes lyrics like “Oklahoma City bomb, Kurt Cobain, Pokémon, Tiger Woods, MySpace, Monsanto, GMOs.” Many people have criticized the cover for its random timeline and misplaced words, but others are obsessed with it. So we’ve rounded up the best memes that make us feel “blown away.”

Billy Joel performing
Source: Getty Images

“We Didn’t Start the Fire,” the ‘Fairly Oddparents’ Version

‘90s and ‘00s cartoon theme songs are some of the most iconic things of the last 30 years. From Arthur on PBS to The Proud Family’s theme song, performed by only the most iconic girl groups—Destiny’s Child (plus Solange Knowles)—these songs were a trademark of the era. So it’s only fitting to squish together the lyrics of The Fairly Oddparents theme song with “We Didn’t Start the Fire," which makes a mockery of both.

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FOB’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire” lyrics are “the worst combination of words”

FOB’s version of “We Didn’t Start the Fire” may have made history, but not necessarily for the right reasons. A viral tweet says, “Fall Out Boy's ‘We Didn't Start the Fire’ does not have bad lyrics. No no no. The choice of words and sequencing therein far transcends that very limiting concept. This might, in fact, be the very worst combination of words in the history of human language.” But perhaps unexpected, cringy word combinations are the point of the song.

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“We Didn’t Start the Fire” could teach us something.

Not only are both versions of the song history lessons, but both versions mention the Suez Canal. Spooky, right? Twitter user @ih8petewentz wrote, “if the suez canal is mentioned in both billy joel’s and fall out boy’s versions of we didn’t start the fire i find it plausible that perhaps the suez canal started the fire.” The logic fits, to be fair.

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A mid-2000s meme reference fits the song.

One person even shared a picture of the guy from the famous Wii Shop Wednesday sketch with the caption, “Fall Out Boy writing We Didn’t Start The Fire (2023)”. In the sketch, he tricks his friend into thinking they should improvise a song to the Wii home screen song, but it becomes clear he already wrote that song. He begins intelligently (and beautifully) lining up the titles of video games with the melody, pulling it out of seemingly nowhere … Just like Fall Out Boy!

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People have written their own “We Didn’t Start the Fire” lyrics.

In 2023 alone, some wild world events make it worth continuing from Fall Out Boy’s version. @TheRyanK wrote, “Writers strike, Russian Coup / Putin and Prigozhin too / DGA takes a vote / Actors try to stay afloat / Crappy sub, bolt on door / Jim Cameron knows the ocean floor! We didn’t start the fire—.” That definitely seems accurate.

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Don’t forget about Scudworth!

In Season 2 of Clone High, an adult sci-fi cartoon created by Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, and Bill Lawrence, Principal Scudworth sings his own version of “We Didn’t Start the Fire” called “The Re-Education Song.” The versions are somewhat similar, although some of Scudworth’s lyrics are, “Poke bowls, Fyre Fest / Kim Kardashian was a West / Gaga wore a meat dress / Most meat is now meatless.” That is both accurate and similar to FOB’s cover.

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Fans enjoy the lyrical randomness of FOB’s cover.

One user wrote, “i dont think we needed a We Didn't Start The Fire Fall Out Boy cover but im kind of glad it happened,” with a screenshot of the lyrics: “World Trade, second plane / What else do I have to say?” The lyrics are both jarring and mocking of how we talk about the news. Of course, not everyone is happy about the cover.

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Bringing together AI and relevant events.

One person used the new FOB song to joke about what they think is the most significant event in recent history. “In response to [this song], I asked chat Gtp to rewrite we didn't start the fire with topics that cover the most important events of the last 20 years (thread) … “ Shockingly, the thread was just one tweet that repeatedly said, “Michael Richards saying the n word.” The event explains why we no longer see much of Seinfeld’s Kramer.

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Fans of FOB’s cover have a favorite rhyme.

Any song covering a wide array of events and references will have some tricky rhymes. Some of the funniest in the new version of “We Didn’t Start the Fire” are “S-S-R-Is / Prince and the Queen died.” But a favorite juxtaposing lyric couplet is when Fall Out Boy rhymes “George Floyd” with “Metroid.” They couldn’t think of any other lyric?

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In all fairness, we love it. Any excuse to talk about Fall Out Boy and Billy Joel is a reason for excitement. Sure, many of the events mentioned in the new song were borderline traumatizing… but if they can’t contribute to a head-banging new cover, then what’s the point?

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