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  • Kaiana Lee

Album Review: "So Much (For) Stardust" - Fall Out Boy

Four years after the release of their most divisive album, Mania. Chicago-born pop rock outfit Fall Out Boy returns with their eighth album So Much (For) Stardust. The record was released on March 24th via Fueled By Ramen and has garnered massive success. Fall Out Boy never fell from grace. Having devoted fans from as far as 2002 they have found their footing again and put out another banger of an album. The album has soundscapes that pay homage to past albums such as Infinity on High and Folie à Deux.

Love From the Other Side

Heartbreak Feels So Good

Hold Me Like a Grudge

Fake Out

Heaven, Iowa

So Good Right Now

The Pink Seashell feat. Ethan Hawke

I Am My Own Muse

Flu Game

Baby Annihilation

The Kintsugi Kid (Ten Years)

What a Time To Be Alive

So Much (For) Stardust

Fall Out Boy’s career has been a rollercoaster. For 20+ years, we have watched them ride the highs of albums From Under the Cork Tree and Infinity on High. We have seen them experiment with their sound on both Folie à Deux and Mania. Though many believe they fell short on the electro-pop rock album Mania the group has had their fair share of successes. Patrick Stump, Pete Wentz, Joe Trohman, and Andy Hurly make up the band and the influence these four have on the music industry is incredible. Regardless of your opinion of their work, it is clear that Fall Out Boy has been a substantial force since they began. Their innovative sound put them on the map in 2005 and skyrocketed them to one of the most influential emo bands of their generation. The fire never died out for them and everyone is over the moon that they have returned.

So Much (For) Stardust proves that Fall Out Boy still has gas in the tank and regardless of the Young and Menace slip-up, they can return to their roots better than ever. The album stays true to their experimental nature with a culmination of classical strings and heavy guitar riffs. The album begins with dream-like orchestras that feed slowly into the rising power chord. They then explode together beautifully and introduce us to the energy the rest of the album will hold. Love From The Other Side is an opener that evokes a sense of revelation. The metaphors on this track hint at Fall Out Boys' move toward artistic pursuit rather than commercial success. The apocalypse referenced is the storm of hardships that come with being a band. constantly under the m, microscope of others and forced to pump out albums that sell rather than sticking to your roots. The title Love from the other side suggests Fall Out Boy is on the other side of this industry barrier. they have seen what the industry can do and have broken free of the apocalypse but still send love to artists stuck there currently.

The album follows suit with this high energy as we switch into some of Fall Out Boys' best pop writing yet. Heartbreak Feels So Good is an upbeat earworm designed to get you on your feet. The bouncy instrumental utilizes low synth, layering vocals, and the natural sounds of drums and guitars to create this fast-paced track. It blends the classic Fall Out Boy Sound with the new perfectly while adding the same poetic lyrical feats we are used to from this band. Heartbreak Feels So Good is an anthem for those of us who chose to find the good in heartbreak. Faking a smile regardless of the tragedy we face and using it as fuel to move forward. As the chorus says “It was an uphill battle but they didn’t know we were gonna use the roads as a ramp to take off” This song leans more towards the pop sound but the defiant sounds Fall Out Boy is known for reigns true here.

Hold Me Like a Grudge is one of those songs that just sticks with you. A heavy and funky bassline starts this song off setting the tone for the funkadelic journey we are about to embark on. Patrick Stump's vocals and intonations follow the bounciness of the instrumental while showing off his Michael Jackson influences expertly. In classic Fall Out Boy fashion the music video is an extension of their iconic Dance Dance video from 2005. Playfully poking at a universe where the band is no longer together, their name is fading from existence and desperately they come together for one more show to save their legacy.

Fake Out slows the album down a bit. Beginning with a subdued guitar that is backed by growing drums. It then slides its way into the opening verse with an acoustic guitar. The lyrics revolve around Patrick's love for someone and how he gave his all for this relationship only for it to end abruptly. Fake Out is a song that is overlooked on this album. Fall Out Boy sticks with the slower ballads with Heaven, Iowa. This track is an explosive power ballad. Patricks take off in the chorus accompanied by piano drums and guitar. The energy of the previous songs is harnessed in an entirely different way on this dynamic anthem.

So Good Right Now is another upbeat pop track that gets you in a great mood. The track takes on a carefree attitude with lyrics like “I know I made mistakes// but at least they were mine to make.” This track is the most fun on this album. It’s simple and effective. Simply there to say one thing: don’t let life bog you down and just enjoy life regardless of the mistakes you made. This track is followed by an Ethan Hawke cameo, The Pink Seashell. This spoken word is directly inspired by Hawkes's 1994 movie Reality Bites. The track signifies a transition in the album. The Pink Seashell references how life might be meaningless. Even so, the smaller moments in life are worth paying attention to. It is a transition to the heavier side of the album with I Am My Own Muse.

Photo Creds: Pamela Littky

I Am My Own Muse is the heaviest track on the album. The track begins similarly to Love From The Other Side. But with a sinister twist. The wintery soundscapes of the orchestra leading Love from The Other Side are now accompanied by Andy Hurley’s expert drumming. Andy leads the instrumental, adding an intensity to the track that is only heightened by the urgency in Patrick's voice as he sings the chorus. The track's moodiness serves as a proclamation. Fall Out Boy isn’t going to fall to the whims of what others want them to be. They focus on their art and no one knows what is best about Fall Out Boy than the band themselves. The punk rock roots continue on the following song Flu Game.

Flu Game is a similar experience to I Am My Own Muse. utilizing heavy drums and punk influences. This track is a bubbly guitar-driven banger. Patrick sings of perseverance something the entire album seems to be referencing. Fighting your way through pain to get to the finish line and shining the entire time. This track then shifts into Baby Annihilation, a spoken word performed by Pete Wentz. Though the track has a strange title the piece is beautifully written and contemplates the changes in love and trust and how things fade and decay but remain important in our lives. This is the final spoken word on the album and it transitions to a track referencing the stress of changing lives. The Kintsugi Kid is all about embracing who you are. learning to love yourself after tragedy. Kintsugi is a Japanese art of pottery where they put broken pieces back together using a gold adhesive. The pottery that was once broken and possibly even seen as trash to some is reused and turned into something unique and beautiful just as Fall Out Boy has over these years.

What a Time To Be Alive is a celebration. The track has references to the pandemic and how it felt so scary but it leads to bursting creativity and the revival of who they are. The pandemic caused a lot of reflection for many of us. Fall Out Boy took this reflection and turned it into a fun track for finding the good in their lives. The album comes to an end with the namesake track So Much (For) Stardust. This song is so strong, brings the album full circle with the orchestral instrumental we see throughout the entire work. It's so perfect the way it pulls the lyrics from Love From The Other Side. It brings a completion to the extremely satisfying album. In a way ending the thematic story, they had built in the beginning. It all comes down to this. A fairytale beginning coming to completion. So Much (For) Stardust brings everything into perspective with its choir, horns, strings, and Patrick's soulful vocals. It’s the perfect closer to an all-around great album. It’s so rare for a band that's been around for 20 years to keep their sound intact that whole time but after all this time fall out boy has proved they haven’t changed much just grown into who they are as a band.

Written By Kaiana Lee

*copyright not intended. Fair use act, section 107.


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