I have loved Fall Out Boy for longer than I can remember. I have always loved their writing style and their sarcastic take on the way things are. Patrick Stump could sing the phone book, and at the end I’d say, “Now press repeat.” I didn’t like 2018’s MANIA when it first came out (and there’s a whole podcast about me hating on it), but it’s really grown on me these past five years. Their new album So Much (for) Stardust is an instant classic for me.
I think what has really kept Fall Out Boy going all these years, despite the fans (just as much as the people who don’t like them), has been the idea that they make music for themselves. You can hear different points in their personal journeys in different albums, and for me, this album makes the most use of Patrick’s current vein of film scoring. He composed the music for Spidey and His Amazing Friends, and there’s a lot of orchestral and epic moments here. And, for some bands, that could be a jarring shift, if we’re used to hearing rock and suddenly it’s strings, but we’ve been listening to the guys mess with classical influence for years now.
I don’t think it started with him, but my uncle used to say that music was better when ugly people were allowed to make it. I think we’re in a music era these days where music is better because musicians are allowed to make it. Patrick, Pete, Joe and Andy make music for music’s sake, not for the idea of what will be most popular or sell the most tickets, and they’ve always stood by that. I feel like they’re some of the last OG believers in that as well. Even with albums like American Beauty / American Psycho and MANIA, when they knew that it would make people raise their eyebrows, they stuck to their guns and created what ended up as classics of the scene (and the arms race).
In continuation of this idea of music for music’s sake, the amount of in-jokes and references here make for a rich album for both Fall Out Boy fans and pop culture fans alike. You don’t have to go into the album as a FOB fan, but it certainly makes lines in songs like “Love from the Other Side” that parallel “The Last of the Real Ones”, or the spoken word by Pete smack in the center of the album feel that much more poignant and in-line with past projects. The line in “Heartbreak Feels So Good” is taken from Jordan Peele’s Nope, and there is an Ethan Hawke monologue there as well. If Fall Out Boy wanted to make this feel like a movie, they certainly succeeded.
I think a lot of releases this year can be classified as a “return to form.” It’s kind of overplayed to keep bringing up 2020 but I think that a lot of artists took the “we only have one life” concept to heart, both personally and artistically. Fall Out Boy’s latest, So Much (for) Stardust, is a great example of what it means to both keep plugging along but not forgetting where you came from. It’s Folie a Deux Jr, grandchild of Infinity on High, a reflection and a continuation of the past, and definitely more self aware.
by Nadia Alves
Nadia Alves has been a music enthusiast since she can remember. Going to shows is her main pastime. The other is being upset when she can’t go to shows. This is her first official venture into writing about music. You can follow her on Twitter.