Fall Out Boy – So Much (For) Stardust (Album Review)

Fall Out Boy So Much For Stardust album review

Fall Out Boy – So Much (For) Stardust
Released: March 24th, 2023

Line up:

Patrick Stump // Guitar, Vocals
Pete Wentz // Bass, Backing Vocals
Joe Trohman // Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
Andy Hurley // Drums



If you’re anything like me, when Chicago pop-punkers Fall Out Boy announced that they were releasing a new record, So Much (For) Stardust, earlier this year, you were a little bit sceptical. The band’s 2018 outing, M A N I A, was a bit of a mixed bag and nobody was really sure what to think. However, Patrick Stump, Pete Wentz, Joe Trohman, and Andy Hurley pleasantly and happily surprised me with the first two singles released for this outing, and I was on the edge of my seat eagerly awaiting for March 24th and the album’s release.

The first single, and lead song Love From The Other Side’ are a great way to kick off the record. It’s like the return of Fall Out Boy of old, with the foursome firmly digging their feet back into their pop-punk roots. The orchestral arrangement that opens before the heavy guitars and drums kick, in is a great way to ease you in, which is pretty much a banger from beginning to end. Next up is the second single Heartbreak Feels So Good’, which also has an incredibly entertaining music video featuring a cheeky cameo from Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo. I think what I like most about the first two tracks on this record is that while ‘Love From The Other Side’ feels very old school FoB, whilst ‘Heartbreak Feels So Good’ feels very much new age FoB and has major M A N I A vibes with a little more synth influenced. I’m always a big fan of Patrick absolutely belting out and hitting those high notes as well, and this has plenty of those moments.

‘Hold Me Like A Grudge’ is next and holy hell, that opening bassline? Pete Wentz, ladies, gentlemen and non-binary folk! It’s bloody brilliant. It’s also got some of those old fast as heck lyrics that Patrick is so gooood at delivering, and it does feel a BIT like Michael Jackson’s ‘Smooth Criminal’, but not at the same time. I will always stand by the statement that Joe Trohman is criminally (see what I did there?) underrated as a guitarist, but he does get to show off a little here. ‘Fake Out’ follows and it starts out a lot slower than the previous entries and has a lot more of a chill vibe, however Andy Hurley’s drums keep the pace feeling a little more urgent. Pat spends most of the track singing in his higher octave, and it will never not amaze me how he manages to sing that high, maintain it, and still sound so gracious. It’s definitely a great way to settle listeners back down after the high of the first three songs.

Heaven, Iowa’ kicks off with maracas so it’s always going to get a big thumbs up from me! It’s almost a ballad, but it’s also pretty rocky. Instrumentally it’s an absolutely beautiful piece of music. Andy’s drums, whilst pretty hard-hitting don’t drown out the harmony of Joe and Patrick’s guitars, with Pete’s bass woven in perfectly to keep it all together. The percussive elements used throughout also bring a different vibe, and Joe gets a great solo at the tail end of it. ‘So Good Right Now’ delivers the party feels that were lost in the melancholy of ‘Heaven, Iowa’. You can tell that Green Day have always been a big influence on Fall Out Boy with the song feeling a little bit like ‘Meet Me On The Roof’, but 20 times better. It’s also a jam that would almost feel perfect at a 1950’s school dance, or in a prom scene in a 2020’s teen romcom; or maybe in the scene where the characters fall in love during a montage. A scene from the film Reality Bites featuring Troy, a character played by Ethan Hawke is interwoven into ‘The Pink Seashells’, yes, you read that right, Ethan Hawke, is essentially what this track is, just with an instrumental played throughout. I’m not really sure what the point of this is, but it feels a bit like an intermission in the record which it may well be seeing as it marks the exact midpoint of So Much (For) Stardust.

‘I Am My Own Muse’ builds on my theory of ‘The Pink Seashells’ being the intermission, especially with the string arrangement that open it and slowly builds it to a crescendo when the drums come in and smack you in the face. It’s pretty epic overall, with the orchestral arrangement making up the backbone, with the heavy rock guitar, drums and bass filling the rest of the musical space. The subsequent track is ‘Flu Game’, which is a great name for a song, but not as great as the next in line ‘Baby Annihilation’ (more on that in a second). Distorted guitar kicks this one off before the vocals come in, and from there it’s pretty much non-stop good, fun. It also feels very familiar in the way that it’s very old school FoB, think Folie A Deux era! There’s a bit of a surprise at the climax, so make sure you listen all the way through. ‘Baby Annihilation’ is a spoken word piece by Pete Wentz and feels very much like a poem, with some weird ass instrumental that feature some pretty odd distorted sounds.

‘This Palace was crystal / but the word was a cruel joke / What is there between us / If not a little annihilation’

‘The Kintsugi Kid (10 Years)’ begins the countdown to the end. ‘I’ve spent 10 Years, 10 years in a bitter chemical haze / And I missed the way that I felt’ is the driving lyric during the chorus, and I think it tells a very definitive story of what it feels like to be under the influence of ‘chemicals’ such as drugs and alcohol. It made me think back to ‘What A Catch, Donnie’, all the way back on Folie A Deux, a song that Pete wrote about his battle with depression and his suicide attempt, almost as a letter to Patrick Stump. I got just this side of nostalgic thinking about my own struggles and I think if anyone else has been through something similar, ‘The Kintsugi Kid’ will definitely hit that little spot inside of them. Even more so when you think about the fact that ‘Kintsugi’ is the Japanese art of literally filling and fixing cracks in pottery and other objects with lacquer usually including gold.

Thankfully ‘What A Time To Be Alive’ wakes us all back up from our emo stupor and has a much happier and uptempo vibe, with a foot firmly in the disco elements of the 1970s. It’s upbeat, it’s dancey, it’s disco, and it’s a total party from start to finish. It’s a 180 in terms of feel from the previous track, and it’s this sort of ebb and flow in their song choices that make Fall Out Boy a class act.

Lastly, (and sadly!) we have the closing track, ‘So Much (For) Stardust’. The strings are back for this one and I’m momentarily pulled into a renaissance ballroom before the rest of the instrumental kicks in. Piano and trumpet make an appearance as well, and additional trumpet is always a nice touch! Patrick has always said he’s heavily influenced by soul and punk music (maybe why he called his solo record Soul Punk……) and I think that shows on this one. The album closer also features lyrics from ‘Love From The Other Side’ and it’s that sort of throwback that makes a record cohesive, and while it could be seen as cheesy, it absolutely isn’t. ‘So Much (For) Stardust’ is an epic offering all over, and just a great way to finish off what’s a great album.

Overall, the record is a bit rocky, it’s a bit pop punk, it’s a bit synthy, and it’s a bit disco! A 10/10 is increasingly rare for me nowadays as I can always pick one or two things on a record that just don’t sit well with me. However, Fall Out Boy have always been amazing at using their albums to tell a story and So Much (For) Stardust is no exception to this. The five-year wait between records has definitely been worth it, and this is one I’m going to be playing this release over and over again.

Fall Out Boy So Much For Stardust

Fall Out Boy – So Much (For) Stardust tracklisting:

1. Love From The Other Side
2. Heartbreak Feels So Good
3. Hold Me Like A Grudge
4. Fake Out
5. Heaven, Iowa
6. So Good Right Now
7. The Pink Seashells (feat. Ethan Hawke)
8. I Am My Own Muse
9. Flu Game
10. Baby Annihilation
11. The Kintsugi Kid (10 Years)
12. What A Time To Be Alive
13. So Much (For) Stardust

Rating: 10/10
So Much (For) Stardust is out Friday March 24th via Fueled By Ramen. Pre-order HERE!
Review by Kelsey Trevan @Kelsey_139

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