On Jan. 19, pop-rock band Fall Out Boy released MANIA, the group’s third LP since their five-year hiatus following their foray into pop with albums like Save Rock and Roll and American Beauty/American Psycho.
Described by the band as a “palette cleanse” from their previous albums, MANIA is a genre-bending departure from the pop-punk sound that made them famous. Fans of Fall Out Boy won’t hear anything familiar in this release, which features unexpected forays into electronic dance music and dancehall.
Young And Menace, the lead single of the album, is widely disliked among fans—for good reason.The cacophonous bass drop sets the tone for a consistently ear-splitting barrage of sounds.
The packaged drum machines on this track are a constant throughout the tracklist. HOLD ME TIGHT OR DON’T is driven by a thumping Latin beat, riding the wave of songs like Despacito. It plays like a tropical house tune and is a radio-ready earworm reminiscent of Maroon 5.
Last Of The Real Ones features Patrick Stump’s screeching vocals over an anthemic production jam-packed with commercial pop hooks. Heaven’s Gate is a highlight of the album and a welcomed relief from the loudness. Its R&B harmonies allow Stump to showcase his soulful vocal style, instead of straining to be heard over busy production. Sunshine Riptide, featuring Nigerian reggae artist Burna Boy, is a questionable attempt at combining rock and dancehall.
Overall, MANIA is an overproduced mishmash of genres at maximum volume.
The packaged synths and infectious hooks are miles away from the pop punk sound that defined Fall Out Boy in the early 2000s.
For someone who enjoyed the band’s early singles like Dance Dance and Thnks fr th Mmrs, the new direction Fall Out Boy has taken since 2013’s Save Rock and Roll holds very little appeal. The wordy titles and emo-pop charm they were known for 15 years ago have been discarded in favor of over-processed attempts at commercial success.
MANIA is a bold experimentation that reaffirms the belief that the band is better off returning to their roots if they want to top the charts again.