The world of emo kids, young and old, held their breath as they waited for the return of Fall Out Boy, the creators of long titled songs with lyrics so twisted and wordy that they are undecipherable to the untrained ear, and the kings of creating an all inclusive community for those who are often unincluded. Mania was created on social media sites as ‘MANIA’ was being unveiled and uncovered.
The armies of people who have listed to the Chicago quartet since their beginning in 2003 have very polarized opinions on the change of the band’s sound, but this record is nothing new. The new release is a continuation of the last full length, ‘American Beauty/American Psycho.’ with very similar sounding songs and lyrics. The songs are built to be anthems and to be performed in massive venues. The themes are very similar, with the band being the champions of the underdogs, insisting that others cannot be trusted, and that giving up is never an option.
The release, as it may break hearts, is not going to be as classic as ‘From Under The Cork Tree,’ ‘Take This To Your Grave,’ or even ‘Infinity on High.’ The album is the type of album that is listened to twice, skipped around on the third listen, and then ejected before it plays a fourth time. The longevity is not there like with their other albums. It already feels overplayed because it so similar to the other albums.
Patrick Stump’s voice is incredible on this album. It is commanding and soulful, it is romantic but also charged and aggressive at times. During ‘Heaven’s Gate,’ the slowest song on the album, he is able to project the gusto in his voice as he asks for a “boost over Heaven’s gate.” His talent and confidence has had a boost over the years.
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Before the official release of the album there were many singles released building suspense and excitement. Almost all of the singles were plagued with llama monster characters, building a brand within the brand of Fall Out Boy. ‘Young and Menace’ was the first single released. It is highly catchy and repetitive, and most likely to be stuck in your head for hours – truly a musical menace. Sadly, Stump’s voice is distorted throughout the song with heavy techno influences.
‘Champion’ is much like their past hit, ‘Centuries,’ another arena anthem. This song is meant to pump up the dreamers and the societal underdogs as they fill stadiums to capacity to “still believe” even though they are “young enough to not know what to believe in.” Similarly, ‘Stay Frosty Royal Milk Tea,’ is a song with not only a classic FOB style title but also is a defensive and upbeat song. Stump is able to show off his soulful voice as he belts out that the “only thing ever stopping me is me, HEY!” and is able to show off that he has learned a little French for this album.
Pete Wentz did what he does best on this album – write lyrics that have both meaning and are completely metaphorical. He writes
“And when your stitch comes loose
I wanna sleep on every piece of fuzz
And stuffing that comes out of you, you”
during ‘Hold Me Tight or Don’t.’ The song is creepy but the music is impressive. The song is a dance song, but not in the same sense that ‘Dance, Dance’ was a dance song.
The last noteworthy song, ‘Wilson (Expensive Mistake)’ is extremely catchy and very entertaining. The music video for the song is hilarious, nothing short of a normal FOB video, and only enhances the enjoyment of the song. The best lyric in the song is “I’ll stop wearing black when they make a darker color” and although that lyric sounds dark, the song is somewhat of a joke.
Therefore, the newest album from the largely popular emo band, is a solid release but it will not compete with their past albums. The songs are comparable to the last full length and most likely will not stand the test of time – but one thing will, the loving and obsessed fans. Once a Fall Out Boy fan, always a Fall Out Boy fan, and one iffy record with not sway any dedication. The band will continue to have odd and magnificent lyrics, an exceptional vocalist, and amazing tunes.
‘MANIA’ is out now via Island Records. The albums full track listing is …
- Stay Frosty Royal Milk Tea
- The Last of the Real Ones
- Hold Me Tight Or Don’t
- Wilson (Expensive Mistake)
- Heaven’s Gate
- Sunshine Riptide
- Young and Menace
- Bishop’s Knife Trick