let’s discuss “so much (for) stardust” by fall out boy…

compact disc, remember those?

oh yeah, i had other thoughts i wanted to get to regarding the new fall out boy record that came out on friday. i’m gonna be honest… their previous 3 records as a whole had been, well, wholly unimpressive. a few good tracks here and there, but for the most part the albums as a whole have been so uneven. and the biggest disappointment about them was the fact that yeah they are an alternative band or whatever, but majority of the songs were just layers and layers of effects, drum machines, vocal parts, so a big swath of the songs just come out as robot noise. but i keep buying them hoping they’ll get that weird stuff out of their system, and revert back to a semblance of rock and roll.

“hold me like a grudge,
the world is spinning faster and i can’t keep up.
faster and faster,
can’t do it on my own.
part time soulmate, full time problem,
so hold me like a grudge.”

fall out boy at their peak are huge riffs, crisp and elevated vocals, lyrics with double entendres and juxtaposed ideas, etc. and the last 3 records were mostly missing the huge riffs, and the clean vocals. they were just hammering all these layers and effects the vocals lost their identity. so truth be told i was a tad bit reticent on this album because i was assuming it was more of the same. so i listened to it like 4 or 5 times through in the car yesterday, and honestly it’s a huge improvement over the last several albums. stylistically i would say it falls right between ‘infinity on high’ and ‘folie a deux’ because it has some of the orchestration they were using in like ‘thnx 4 th mmrs’ or the keys at the beginning of ‘disloyalist buffalo.’ as soon as the first track kicks off your immediately hit with huge riffs. the vocals are just one vocal track. so its easy to sing along with once you learn the words. and there’s drums! real, actual drums! i kept joking that i don’t even think joe or andy were even in the studio for the past few albums, because i couldn’t hear any of their work. just keyboards and drum machines.

banger, after banger, after banger…

to put it bluntly, this is easily the best collection of songs they have released since 2008. it’s astonishing that it took them that long to get back to the basics. now if i may go back a bit, so when they were really blowing up in 2005 and sugar we’re going down was the big hit, that song really did nothing for me. then dance dance came on, and that song *really* did nothing for me. it wasn’t until sixteen candles that i started to see something. in the summer of 2006 i moved to san antonio, and long nights led to musical exploration, so i grabbed from under the cork tree off of soulseek, and lawyers is a fantastic track, gin joints is a phenomenal track, baby in the corner is a phenomenal track… basically what i was seeing is for some reason, the 3 songs that were the singles, were the 3 most mediocre tracks on the record, and the rest of the album is just banger, after banger, after banger, after banger, after banger, on my ipod i removed dance and sugar, and the album at that point was a pop-rock masterpiece. i still say cork tree is their best album, because it’s just relentless and stupid easy to sing to because the vocals are the least modified of the entire discography. i’m not saying i want them to go back and make another cork tree, but… shoot ac/dc has released the same record for 50 years now, so sometimes when you have a winning formula you just go with it.

i’ve got love in my heart,
so let’s sneak in from the cheap seats honey,
and we’ll drive until the engine just gives up.
feeling so good right now,
til we crash and burn somehow.
feeling so good right now.”

now this record is by no means a return to cork tree, but there are some really good guitar riffs, and very memorable lines of lyric. one thing i think is interesting is basically older fall out boy was all about hard times and heartache, but in recent years there are anthems about just good times, and this record has a few of those, most notably ‘so good right now’ as well as to a degree ‘what a time to be alive.’ and there are effects and what not throughout the album, but instead of it being walls of sound from keyboards that are busted through filters, they just had really really cool subtle guitar licks buried down in the chain of sound. joe said he was really proud of this record and how it came out, and i hear a lot of cool stuff on his end that i don’t think i’ve necessarily heard before on a fob record.

“flu game” by fall out boy

all in all, a very great effort from the band. i’m not sure what exactly happened with them during the pandemic, because we all kind of took it in different strides. but the songs on this album, if they were the product of the isolation and such, were the exact thing the band needed at this juncture in their career. you can feel a reinvigorated sense of awakening in the approach to the writing. if you haven’t listened to this album, i can’t recommend it enough. give it a listen wherever you consume music at today.