By Kevin Sninsky
This January saw the release of “MANIA,” the seventh studio album by pop-rock giants, Fall Out Boy. Debuting nearly 15 years after the group’s first musical venture, “Take This To Your Grave,” the band seems to have finally refined its signature emo-rock feel into a more modern sound.
If you are somehow unaware of this massively successful band, they are most popular for their songs, “Sugar We’re Going Down,” “Dance, Dance,” and pretty much any other song you had listened to in middle school when your parents didn’t understand you and your crush didn’t like you back.
“MANIA” sees Fall Out Boy lean even harder into the “pop” end of the pop-rock spectrum, following a similar direction as fellow Made By Ramen produced artists Paramore and Panic! At the Disco.
With that being said, the selections featured on “MANIA” encompass a variety of musical styles, like the rhythmic snaps and whistles that garnish the dance beat guiding the pop-reggae-rock style of “HOLD ME TIGHT OR DON’T”.
“Heaven’s Gate,” an R&B infused rock ballad, is a standout effort. The song neglects to continue the raging guitars and synthetic beats that fill the first half of “MANIA” and instead introduces a gentle piano sound, accompanied by an airy riff suspiciously similar to that of Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling In Love”.
While “MANIA” may mark a new direction in Fall Out Boy’s career, long time fans will be happy to know that the band has not completely abandoned their roots.
“MANIA” serves as another entry into the catalog of pop culture references the band has been curating since breaking into the music scene, with song titles referencing Ridley Scott’s “Alien” (“Bishops Knife Trick”) and the Tom Hanks’ classic, “Castaway” (“Wilson (Expensive Mistakes)”).
Songs are packed to the brim with deep lyrics, despite their more upbeat sounds, such as, “And if death is the last appointment, then we’re just all sitting in new waiting rooms.”
Not every aspect of this new album is a total success—the song “Champion” feels like a forgettable attempt at recreating the stadium success of “Centuries”—but “MANIA” carries itself with a glimmer of hope that the old Fall Out Boy can adapt with current popular music styles, rather than completely change to fit them.
The band seems to believe this truth as well, with lead singer, Patrick Stump, shouting out, “I’ll stop wearing black when they make a darker color,” along to “Wilson’s” upbeat refrain. In an industry full of neon daydreams and minimalistic lyrical efforts, Fall Out Boy’s honest cynicism and decorative lyrics are still refreshing.
Categories: Arts & Entertainment