REVIEW: Fall Out Boy returns with new sound on ‘Mania’


Fall Out Boy Cover

Alex Novak

Fall Out Boy returned to the music scene with its seventh studio album “Mania” and it seems as though the four-year hiatus helped develop a new, consistent sound.

Originally scheduled for release in the fall of 2017, the band pulled back the album in fear of forcing creativity.

“The album just really isn’t ready, and it felt very rushed,” frontman Patrick Stump said on Twitter in August.

“I’m never going to put a record out I genuinely don’t believe is at least as strong or valid as the one that came before it and in order to do that we need a little bit more time to properly and carefully record solid performances,” he said.

The band eventually would announce the album had been completed on Nov. 6, setting it ready for its Jan. 19 release.

To kick things off, “Young And Menace” and “Champion” are the first two singles from the record, which are the tracks with the most potential. The band can only hope that it comes close to matching the successes of “Light It Up” and “Centuries” from their past two releases, respectively.

The Shakira-esque “Hold Me Tight Or Don’t” is one of the most creative tracks on the album, featuring a whistled melody setting the scene of this upbeat dance-pop song.

The occasional curse word sometimes feels pasted in to create edge with the exception, however, of a couple used on “Wilson (Expensive Mistakes).” They are not immune to the occasional misstep on this record.

FOB is starting to experiment, just like in the past. They have broke away from the heavy rock-and-roll of their past couple releases, illustrating a versatility of interest and originality, to give this album a little bit of everything — including occasional shades of those roots and recent hits.

Standout tracks definitely include “Hold Me Tight Or Don’t” and “Wilson (Expensive Mistakes),” which possibly contains some of the most notable lyrics of the album.

“I’m gonna run away and never see any of you again,” Stump sings. “I’ll stop wearing black when they make a different color.”

The album even goes slightly spiritual for a couple tracks starting with “Church,” a song that you can feel every detail, from the guitar blares to the dramatic background vocals. It’s basically a mix of Maroon 5 pop-rock songs and “O Fortuna.”

“Heaven’s Gate” carries the heart and soul movement forward and throughout it’s chorus’ and bridge. The track is sure to make it a terrific live stadium-rocker in the future.

Undeniably, the highlight tracks of the album, these two back-to-back make for the ultimate listening experience. Building through their verses up to truly powerful vocals and memorable guitar work, they both manage to become grandiose without being five or six minutes long.

“These are the last blues we’re ever gonna have,” declares Stump on the albums finale “Bishops Knife Trick,” perhaps the best track on the album that might signal a look to the future and possibly a whole new sound for them.

Throw in a classic fast-paced rocker in the middle of it all and it’s a full mix of lyrics and styles for just about everyone, including multiple soulful ones that have ambiguity to be left for open listener interpretation. This album builds from good to great; stay on for the whole ride and you’ll be pleasantly entertained.

Alex Novak is an entertainment reviewer. Contact him at [email protected].