After scrapping all but two songs in the first version of their album, Fall Out Boy has finally returned with a new album after three years and several months of delay. “MANIA” was released Jan. 19, and is full of a new sound for the formerly pop-punk Fall Out Boy.
“MANIA” was originally set to be released in September 2017, but the band scrapped all but two songs, "Young and Menace" and "Champion" from the completed album and began again when Patrick Stump and Pete Wentz, two of the songwriters, realized their new album didn’t sound quite like the Fall Out Boy that they knew.
I think it was a good move to scrap what could have been.
When I first heard Fall Out Boy was coming out with a new album, my former punk-kid started to apply her Pete Wentz-esque back eyeliner to get ready. But when the first single and album opener, “Young And Menace” was released early last year, I remember being nervous about the sound, hoping it was the only one song on the album would be in that style.
While I’ll never know what the old version sounded like, I can say “Young And Menace” is the only song on the reworked “MANIA” that really draws from that EDM-style sound.
Sure the album is good, but it’s no “From Under The Cork Tree” circa 2005 — and how could it be?
“From Under The Cork Tree” is probably Fall Out Boy's best album, filled to the brim with anthems like “Dance, Dance” and “Sugar, We’re Goin Down” for former and current pop-punk kids and all their moods.
While nothing can truly compare to the 2005 masterpiece, “MANIA” doesn’t stray far from “American Beauty/American Psycho” from 2015, which was also a fantastic album.
It’s rare for a band as old as Fall Out boy is to keep the same sound throughout the entirety of its career, and I think with this album they may have done something as simple as dropping the “punk” from pop-punk and just keeping the “pop.”
The evolution of the band has been an interesting one to watch since they returned from their hiatus in 2013 with “Save Rock And Roll.”
“Save Rock And Roll” was the first album to display a change in sound, featuring artists like Big Sean and Elton John.
“Folie à Deux” was the first album to have some shorter song titles, but the post-hiatus period marked when Fall Out Boy decided to change the way they titled all their songs. They opted for shorter ones like “The Phoenix” and “Alone Together” instead of things like, “I’ve Got All This Ringing In My Ears And None On My Fingers” and “Our Lawyer Made Us Change The Name Of This Song So We Wouldn’t Get Sued.”
While the sound and titling style is slightly different than it used to be, the reworked “MANIA” is full of songs that will keep your feet tapping and your body moving.
The 10-song album not only has feel-good party songs, like my personal favorites “Stay Frosty Royal Milk Tea” and “Champion,” there are also slower songs like “Heaven’s Gate” and the album closer, “Bishops Knife Trick” for anyone who feels like getting a bit emotional with their hair brush as a microphone while listening to the album.
An open mind is necessary to listen to this album and appreciate it for what it is.
If you go into the album expecting the 2005-style Fall Out Boy, you’re going to be disappointed with what you get. If you go into the album thinking Fall Out Boy’s new sound could be something fantastic, then you’ll probably enjoy what you hear.
Before pressing play on this album, remember bands grow and evolve with each new track released. Hey, it could be worse. They could have just released the version they scrapped.
For my playlist this week, I’ve added in a mix of old and new Fall Out Boy in addition to some old and new Panic! At The Disco because I feel like the evolution of the two bands has been pretty similar. You can listen to it here.
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