Review – “Mania” – Fall Out Boy

Review – “Mania” – Fall Out Boy

I honestly can’t even be mad at Fall Out Boy for delaying this, because it’s just that good!

For those who may not know, Mania is Fall Out Boy‘s seventh studio album, released with Island Records The album was initially set for release in September 2017, but the band postponed the release out of concerns that Mania was not ready yet.

Mania was well worth the wait. You can practically hear the heart, soul and energy the band poured into it, to make the album as perfect as possible for their fans. Mania continues the band’s experimentation with different sounds and genres, including pop–to the chagrin of all the negative fans who somehow expect Fall Out Boy to have stayed exactly the same 15 years later. No song sounds the same, and each brings a different flavor to the album. Mania is the most unique and musically diverse of the band’s albums, blending Latina music, pop, reggae, and gospel with rock.

The opening track “Young and Menace” was the first single, and a huge musical shock to fans when it first came out in April 2017. Everyone was so taken aback by how…pop it sounded. The lyrics even sampled Britney Spears’ “Oops!…I Did It Again!” But this song really grows on you. The song starts off super soft and quiet, before blasting you awake with the beat drop on the chorus. “Young and Menace” is a total jam, and even sounds good live. Don’t believe me? Watch Fall Out Boy perform the song on Jimmy Fallon:

Champion” is without question the new Fall Out Boy anthem. The song buzzes with an infectious energy that gets your heart racing. The music alone makes you want to get up and take charge, do something that scares you, kick some ass…you get the idea. The song’s lyrical message of “If I can live through this/I can do anything” is empowering: if you can get through the hard times, you can do whatever you set your mind to

“Stay Frosty Royal Milk Tea” is a frenzy. The music goes from fast and intense to quieter on the pre-chorus, with Patrick Stump’s voice alternating between soaring notes and an angry growl that looks down on all the dark crap he sings about. The lyrics reference the Tonya Harding incident right as “I, Tonya” is hitting theaters (“I’m about to go Tonya Harding on the whole world’s knee“), French phrases (“Eau de résistance“), and the insane world we live in (“Seems like the whole damn world went and lost its mind“).

Hold Me Tight or Don’t” is still one of my favorite tracks off this album. I dig the use of castanets and steel drums, the whistle hook, and the dance-y vibe of the whole song. It’s a track that makes you want to dance along while singing along at the top of your lungs. Fall Out Boy performed “Hold Me Tight” last night on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

The Last of the Real Ones” is a fun, lighthearted love song to a fellow “real one.” The lyrics use celestial metaphors for love, and the guy’s desire for this girl to be there for him only, because “I know this whole damn city thinks it needs you/But not as much as I do.” The music is upbeat and fast, making you want to jump around as you sing at the top of your lungs. According to bassist and lyricist Pete Wentz, this was one of the songs written post-album delay.

Wilson (Expensive Mistakes)” has only been out for a week, but I already know every word. “Wilson” has an addictive quality that makes you want to listen over and over again. The lyrics sound like the ramblings of a drunk man as he babbles about wanting to escape and marveling at this girl’s beauty (“you’re the 8th wonder“). The song’s tempo brings to mind the dancing Michelle Obama GIF, because that’s pretty much what I do when this song comes on.

“Church” is a love anthem that uses religious metaphors for love and devotion. The mixture of gospel and rock works so well, and makes for a powerful track. The church bells and gospel choir only enhance the song’s beauty. I love the comparison of one’s love to church, implying an utter, complete devotion and love to someone.

“Heaven’s Gate” also compares love to religion and heaven. This song gave me chills. How can you not get chills from Stump’s opening notes alone?! Funnily enough, this track felt more like an Ed Sheeran song than a Fall Out Boy song, and as a fan of Sheeran, I’m not even mad. I think this is a beautiful sound with so much heart and soul, and Fall Out Boy certainly has plenty of that. The stomp-clap beat intensifies the song, and you know it’ll get audiences going during shows.

“Sunshine Riptide,” featuring reggae singer Burna Boy, was not my favorite song on Mania. Maybe it’s because I don’t like reggae, but this song just didn’t stick with me. Frankly, “Bishops Knife Trick” had me feeling the same way. It’s relatively chill compared to the rest of Mania, and it’s still a good song. I feel like “Bishops” is a song that, like “Young and Menace,” will grow on me over time, but I definitely can’t say the same for “Sunshine Riptide.”

Having already heard half the album via pre-album singles had its pros and cons. On the down side, it made the first listen less exciting; I was very tempted to skip the singles and go right for the new songs. On the up side, it was exciting to already know some tracks and be able to dance and sing along out of pure joy. Hearing these songs in advance also made the new songs that much more exciting to finally hear.

I honestly didn’t want this album to end; 10 tracks just wasn’t enough! Mania is an amazing, well-done and well-crafted masterpiece that was very worth the wait. I’m happy that Fall Out Boy decided to spend more time on Mania, because they turned out something so incredible. The musicality was great, Stump’s vocals made me die and go to “heaven’s gate,” and I loved the uniqueness of each song. What amazed me is how even with all the experimentation, Mania still distinctly sounded like a Fall Out Boy album. Mania is an amazing album, and I’ll be playing it on loop until I get sick of it!

What did you think of Mania? Let me know in the comments!

Be sure to check out my single reviews of “Young and Menace,” “Champion,” “The Last of the Real Ones,” “Hold Me Tight or Don’t,” and “Wilson (Expensive Mistakes)!”

Like what you hear? Check out Fall Out Boy on Spotify! Be sure to follow them on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Tumblr, and subscribe to their YouTube! Check out their website for tour info, merch, and more.

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