Fall Out Boy – M A N I A
Released: January 19th, 2018
Fall Out Boy are:
Joe Trohman | guitar/vocals
Andy Hurley | drums
Patrick Stump | vocals/guitar
Pete Wentz | bass/vocals
Fall Out Boy online:
Ah, Fall Out Boy. When anyone hears this iconic band name, they think of the high school emo anthems that they’d blast through their speakers, headphones, or CD players. Songs like ‘Dance Dance’ and ‘Thnks Fr The Mmrs’ come to mind. They’ve been providing a generation of alternative music for well over a decade at this point, and they’ve always produced such incredible, loud, rock themed songs. Even after their hiatus that broke the hearts of many and caused a tidal wave of tears when they announced their return to music. We were blessed with albums such as Save Rock And Roll and American Beauty/American Psycho
Their latest release is M A N I A and honestly from their first single, ‘Young And Menace’ I had exceedingly low expectations. I described the song to my friends time and time again as that it sounded like Fall Out Boy had fucked Skrillex. It wasn’t great. Was it catchy? Absolutely. Did I skip it every time it came on a playlist on Spotify? Absolutely. I can jam out to it as white noise and have a bit of a sing along to it? Of course, and I still do, but I can’t say that I purposely go out of my way to listen to it, and I cringe a little bit anytime anyone does play it. This was their only single release for quite some time as the boys weren’t happy with the album and decided to go back to the studio, pushing back the date of when they were set to release the album.
After spending some more time in the studio, fans were treated to the band releasing another three songs — ‘Hold Me Tight Or Don’t’, ‘Champion’, and ‘The Last Of The Real Ones’ and I have to say, these three gave me a little more hope that the album going to be something fantastic and maybe ‘Young And Menace’ was just a once off song that they’d put out before they were really happy with it, and they wanted to test the waters. These three songs were the classic sound that Fall Out Boy carry and it was a thrilling moment to hear the growth of the band but keeping to their sound that not only myself, but majority of other people love but then right before the album dropped, the band released one final single to treat fans to which was ‘Wilson (Expensive Mistakes)’ and honestly, I didn’t hear this one when it came out, but it was playing on the Spotify playlist that gets played throughout my time at my day job and if it gets played there, I’d say it would be classed as pop, because really, that’s all we listen to.
Hearing the album in full, however, I can’t say that the hope I had stuck around for long.
The album starts out with something Fall Out Boy are known for — their fucking long and weird song titles. ‘Stay Frosty Royal Milk Tea’ is the beginning track and I have to say this is actually a good one. I love it as it is fun, edgy and it’s got a hint of pop but sticks within the realm of alternative and holds that familiarity of a tune that you’d expect to hear on any of their previous albums. Following on from this is the previously released ‘Last Of The Real Ones’, ‘Hold Me Tight Or Don’t’ and ‘Wilson (Expensive Mistakes)’. It’s about this time that the album goes downhill. I mean I can’t say I’m a fan of ‘Wilson (Expensive Mistakes)’ anyway. The best thing about that song for me is the line that is relatable to most people who listen to alternative music by saying “I’ll stop wearing black when they make a darker colour”.
The album then hits a weird biblical turn with two songs entitled ‘Chruch’ and ‘Heaven’s Gate’ and if it’s okay with you guys, I think I’ll skip talking about these. They’re a little bland and boring in my opinion, however ‘Chruch’ did grow on me a little bit after a few listens. It’s a bit of a sexy rock song which is something interesting. For about four minutes we hit another solid point with ‘Champion’ and then it drops off again, going back to being pop filled with a slight edge, or just being a bit of a boring track that can’t really hold my attention, with the exception of the final track — ‘Bishops Knife Trick’
Look, I’ll be real with everybody who reads this. I love Fall Out Boy as much as anybody else, but this album severely disappointed me. I am all for the growth of bands and exploring new sounds and new collaborations and wanting to step out of the boundaries that they’ve previously had. They’ve been making music for more than a decade in this genre and growth is important as you don’t want the band to stay the same forever and it is important to grow to bring in new generations of alternative music lovers, but there is an extent to which exploration becomes too much. Go for it and push the boundaries, play around with synthesisers and vocoders and whatever other gear that is under the sun, but I feel that this record is just much too far out of their traditional pop punk sound that it just has stopped feeling like Fall Out Boy. It feels like they may have lost themselves and the only thing I can say is that I hope they find themselves again, because this just isn’t them.
They’ve clearly tried to add in bits and pieces of other genres to this release and it’s almost as if they haven’t properly thought it through as it’s just a mish-mash of music. Using an example — ‘Sunshine Riptide (feat. Burna Boy)’ which I started out absolutely loving until I’m sitting there feeling like one minute I think the song sounds incredible and then they’ve outsmarted themselves by adding in reggae. This also happens with a few other tracks in which they added in dance, pop and so many more elements and it just sadly hasn’t worked in their favour this time. Would I still continue to listen to this album even after the review? Without a doubt. It’s good for a bit of a pop sing along or music that just plays while I drive, but I probably won’t be having it on repeat.
The standout songs for me are the ones with the more nostalgic feel to them, the ones with the edge, the punk, the raw sound of the Fall Out Boy that not only myself but most others would have fallen in love with. These songs are ‘Stay Frosty Royal Milk Tea’, ‘The Last Of The Real Ones’, ‘Hold Me Tight Or Don’t’, ‘Champion’ and ‘Bishops Knife Trick’.
I’m sorry to those who love these guys, I do too, but I’m let down this time.
Fall Out Boy – M A N I A tracklist
1. Stay Frosty Royal Milk Tea
2. The Last Of The Real Ones
3. Hold Me Tight Or Don’t
4. Wilson (Expensive Mistakes)
6. Heaven’s Gate
8. Sunshine Riptide (feat. Burna Boy)
9. Young And Menace
10. Bishops Knife Trick
Rating: Oh boy, rating time. It sits at about a 3.5/10 for me. Great to sing to and have a little jam, but nothing special. Few songs that I love listening to. I’d like to see another release soon.
M A N I A is out now via Universal Music. Grab a copy here if you dare
Review by Heather McNab
You can catch Fall Out Boy on their upcoming MANIA headlining tour
Fall Out Boy – M A N I A Australian Tour 2018
with Special Guests WAAX
WEDNESDAY 28 FEBRUARY – RIVERSTAGE, BRISBANE – Licensed All Ages
FRIDAY 2 MARCH – QUDOS BANK ARENA, SYDNEY – Licensed All Ages
SATURDAY 3 MARCH – MARRIAGE EQUALITY ARENA, MELBOURNE – Licensed All Ages SOLD OUT
MONDAY 5 MARCH *Public Holiday – RED HILL AUDITORIUM, PERTH – Licensed All Ages