Fans Are Sure to Go Maniac Over Fall Out Boy’s “Mania”
by Coraima Camacho
American rock band, Fall Out Boy, released their seventh album titled “Mania” on Jan. 19, 2018. The band hails from Wilmette, Illinois, a northern suburb of Chicago, and is comprised of lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Patrick Stump, bassist Pete Wentz, lead guitarist Joe Trohman, and drummer Andy Hurley. They are recognized for their pop punk-influenced music reflecting their involvement in Chicago’s hardcore punk scene. Hence, due to their ability to experiment with different sounds and dabble in various genres throughout the album, fans are sure to go crazy over Fall Out Boy’s “Mania.”
The ten track album’s release comes four months after it was originally set to hit stores and digital media platforms. Its original release was scheduled for Sept. 15 of last year, but the band made the decision to scrap it last minute and begin rebuilding it from scratch. Frontman Stump broke the news to fans via Facebook, announcing the new release date and stating he felt “the album just really [was not] ready and [felt] very rushed.” He followed that statement by saying, “I’m never going to put out a record 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.”
The album’s opening track and first single, “Young and Menace,” demonstrates the band experimenting with the EDM sound popular in recent mainstream music. Although their verses remain true to Fall Out Boy’s original rock identity, the chorus shifts into heavy electronics and bass drops associated with traditional EDM tracks. Initially, this gives off the impression that the rest of the album will include similar sounds and that Fall Out Boy could take on a new EDM related sound.
However, the second track, “Champions,” dismisses this idea, as the band shifts back to its original sound. The song begins with a dark, ominous sound and includes Stump showcasing his abilities to sing in his lower range. Midway through the song, the background music displays minimal usage of guitar, bass, and a steady drum beat. However, as the chorus approaches, it escalates to a heavy instrumental sound, with Stump shouting lyrics such as, “If I can live through this, I can do anything.” Overall, it alludes to an anthemic vibe and similar sound found in their 2013 album, “Save Rock and Roll.”
The same can be said about the song titled “Last of the Real Ones,” which employs a fast, upbeat chorus, accompanied by a combination of heavy guitar and drum sounds, which coincides with a more traditional Fall Out Boy rock sound.
The track “Stay Frosty Royal Milk Tea,” is an example of an ambiguous track in the album with shifting sounds that make it difficult to determine if they are venturing towards a less rock sound. It begins with a heavy, pulsating drum and bass-dominated beat. In the following track, “HOLD ME TIGHT OR DON’T,” the band ventures into Latin music territory, as the song features traditional Latin rhythms and accompaniments.
The band experiments with a slow, blues or gospel sound that give off a Sam Smith vibe throughout the track “Church,” and a slow doo-wop style reflecting 1950s music throughout “Heaven’s Gates.” Additionally, “Heaven’s Gates” lyrics take on a pleading tone, as reflected with the repeated use of “Would you give me, give me, give me, give me a boost,” and “Honey, please, please come through.”
On the other hand, the laid-back sound does not last long, as “Sunshine Riptide” featuring Burna Boy, a Nigerian reggae-dancehall singer-songwriter, gives a glimpse of Fall Out Boy’s attempts at a reggae/hip-hop vibe.
With a combination of genres ranging from EDM to 1950s doo-wop, Fall Out Boys’ “Mania” signifies a huge change from their memorable albums, such as “Infinity on High” and “Save Rock and Roll.” Consequently, some critics and fans do not approve of the band’s decision to toy around with new sounds, and in turn, question if Fall Out Boy is still the same notorious rock band. Nonetheless, although it may not cater to everyone’s taste in music, “Mania” makes for an interesting listen and serves as a prime example of the increasing shift towards mainstream music.