Fall Out Boy’s rushed work MANIA does not impress

Development and improvements made with time are a normal occurrence and should be welcomed. However in the case of 17-year-old band Fall Out Boy, recent changes in their sound as a band should not be embraced in any way. Their most recent release, MANIA, follows a confusing and scattered course that shows the unclear future of the band.

Fall Out Boy has a complex history as a band. The band currently consists of bassist Pete Wentz, vocalist Patrick Stump, drummer Andy Hurley, and guitarist Joe Trohman. The group originally formed in 2001, but took a hiatus in 2009. During their active period, they released four studio albums. Each album saw incredible amounts of success. At least one single from each record took over the airwaves including, “Sugar We’re Going Down” from Under the Corktree, “Thnks fr th Mmrs” from Infinity on High, and “I Don’t Care” from Folie Deux. After four years of radio silence, the band released their single “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up)” and effectively ended their hiatus in 2013. After the release of their fifth studio album, Save Rock and Roll, every fan launched into freakout mode and whined on the Internet how they missed “the old Fall Out Boy.”

Personally, I enjoyed the 2013 release. Although it was different from their prior sound, it still was enjoyable to me. They then released American Beauty/American Psycho in 2015 and were scheduled to release their newest album, MANIA, in September of 2017. However, this new release was pushed back all the way to January of 2018 after the group felt the album wasn’t fully complete.

I was already disappointed when the album was delayed. I knew that when the press said the album was half done in the summer, there was no way the tracks would be complete in time for an early fall release. I then was even more disappointed when I took the time to listen to the album as a whole. Even though they pushed the album release date back, I wish they would have canceled it.

The first single released off the album, “Young and Menace,” threw me for a loop. When I first heard the single, I tried to hold faith that the rest of the album would have a different sound. Although I find the track enjoyable, it doesn’t make any sense to me that Fall Out Boy chose this song to be their first single. It’s good- the elements of EDM are cool to listen to- but that’s just it. It’s just good. Not great. Not spectacular. It’s just mediocre. On top of that, I never in my wildest dreams imagined any Fall Out Boy song ever sounding this way.

The album then moves to the next single, “Champion.” I think that Stump’s vocals sound great in this song, and I enjoy the lyrics. However, it still lacks that element that distinguishes Fall Out Boy from so many other bands.

Painfully, I made it to “Stay Frost Royal Milk Tea” and still was not enjoying my listening experience. The fake French accent in that song sounded tacky, and I could barely make it through this track.

“HOLD ME TIGHT OR DONa��T” finally gave me something I liked. The whistled intro was fun to listen to, and Stump’s vocals sounded edgier than previous songs. However as soon as I hit the chorus, I disliked the song. The preppy elements of steel drums and the elements of reggae didn’t make sense to me at all. It was at this point I realized the album was a mess of different sounds present in each song. The album was not put together in a thought-out, cohesive way.

“The Last of The Real One’s” was the standout track to me. It had the sound I wished the whole album had. The riffs on the guitars and drums were heavier than previous tracks, and I loved it. I think that the lyrics weren’t amazing and a little repetitive, but I enjoyed the overall layout of this song.

Another song I enjoyed was “Church.” However, the whole metaphor present in the song was cliche and overused. The overall song was mixed well with the instruments, vocal arrangement, and at points the choirs present. I think this song had potential, but it just missed the mark a little bit.

Moving further forward along, “Heaven’s Gate” shows Stump’s ability and range as a vocalist. The slower pace and piano elements present create an intimate listening experience, and I enjoyed how it slowed the pace of the overall album. I think this song was one of the ones that had to make the final tracklist, and this should be one of the few tracks you listen to.

Overall, the album was slacking. The songs on the album all lack the sense of identity that previous Fall Out Boy songs possess. If the group wanted to experiment and change their sound, this was not the way to do it. Each sound sounded way too different from the last, and they all couldn’t be packed together. This album went down a path I just couldn’t follow as a Fall Out Boy fan– they just couldn’t sell me on this one. However, as a music listener, some tracks are good. Just when I listen to the few tracks I like in the future, I’ll try my best to forget they were created by Fall Out Boy.