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Fall Out Boy 2023

ALBUM REVIEW: Fall Out Boy – ‘So Much (For) Stardust’

Fall Out Boy their new album is out! It’s been 5 years since their previous full album released. There is so much to unpack this album. They went back in time with their sound sounding more like their early work than anything. This album is nothing like their last album Mania.

Honestly I don’t know where to start, this album has so many amazing creative layers. Just figuring out what everything references to took me a while and I probably missed a lot. The songs were announced in their own creative ways, almost every song has its own cover which is based on a movie poster and there are some great vocal features on the album that I’ll get into later.

The first single of this album was Love From The Other Side which was first teased last year, on December 25th when Fall Out Boy uploaded a video on their YouTube channel called ‘A Claymation Fall Out Boy Celebration’ where a snippet of the song was playing at the end of the video. A few weeks later, on January 11th, Oliver Skyes of Bring Me The Horizon revealed that he got a package from Fall out boy containing a pink shell with ‘1 of 13’ written on it and a note attached with the track title and release date of the single. Fall Out Boy revealed the next day that Love From The Other Side would release on January 18th.

Next up was Heartbreak Feels So Good, Fall Out Boy set out a scavenger hunt for this one. They posted a photo of a house and instructed people to tag them once someone found what was hidden there. It turns out that the location was the Field of Dreams Movie Site in Dyersville, Iowa. There was once again a shell with a note. This shell had ‘2 of 13’ on it and the note had the title of the song along with the release date on it, this song released on January 25th after officially getting confirmed and announced by Fall Out Boy on January 23rd.

Let’s get to the songs, all 13 of them are great. Not all of them are full songs like The Pink Seashell and Baby Annihalation but I’ll get more into that when I get to them.

  1. Love From The Other Side: This was the first single of the album. It opens with a piano and strings which slowly build up, the piano starts playing faster and the guitars come in. The piano is still playing in the background and the vocals kick in to start the first verse. This song already showed that Fall Out Boy went back in time with their music style. This song combines the old Fall Out Boy sound with more orchestral instruments greatly. In my opinion, this is indeed the best song they could’ve chosen to start the album with.
  2. Heartbreak Feels So Good: Patrick Stump starts to show off his vocal skills in this song already. It’s no secret that he is a great vocalist and he has great vocals throughout the song. This song feels as if you took a typical Fall Out Boy song and played it with more modern sounds. The guitars feel right, the chorus sounds really rich, Patrick has some great high notes throughout the song and it’s once again confirming that they went back in time.
  3. Hold Me Like A Grudge: I’m a sucker for a good bass and drum combination and this song plays into that so well. Slowly building up with the instruments towards the chorus, continuously adding another instrument but not adding too much noise. This song is perfect if you’re looking for music that will make you feel good while you’re walking outside. The bridge takes the song back to fewer instruments again after which the last chorus starts. One of my favourite songs on the album. The band mentioned on Twitter that this song is a continuation on This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race, to which someone replied: “And This Ain’t A Scene was technically a continuation of Dance Dance if anyone is paying attention”. The band retweeted this basically confirming that the story is getting longer and longer.
  4. Fake Out: Patrick goes even higher in this song, he spends a big part of this song reaching incredibly high notes. This song really feels a bit softer, not at all like a fake out. The main guitar sounds acoustic throughout the bigger part of the song, the only exceptions are the choruses and the parts where there is no guitar of course. If you’re more into melodic songs, this song is definitely for you.
  5. Heaven, Iowa: I barely have any words for this song. It’s so insanely good. It starts off really quiet with just some shakers and Patrick Stump. It then builds up to the insanely climactic chorus which makes you feel like you’re floating. The entire song has a space cinematic-like sound until the second chorus, they have a buildup like Phill Collins has in In The Air Tonight with the drums which they use multiple times. The song eventually ends after the final explosion of sounds of the chorus. This song feels like one of the more emotional songs on the album.
  6. So Good Right Now: You want a happy song? Here you go. This song sounds so incredibly happy. There are claps used as percussion throughout the song and they have this little adlib which sounds a lot like Little Bitty Pretty One by Thurston Harris from the original Matilda movie. Even the chorus repeats the lyrics “Feeling so good right now”. It’s spring and almost summer, time to play this song a lot but watch out before it’s in your head for the rest of the day because it’s good, but also incredibly catchy.
  7. The Pink Seashell(feat. Ethan Hawke): This is one of the songs which isn’t really a song. It’s mostly dialogue from Ethan Hawke in the movie Reality Bites with some strings around it. This is a great song for an evening of existential philosophy, he talks about how nothing matters in the entire world and that all the answers can be found in just a pink seashell. And that he now, because of that, loves the small things more.
  8. I Am My Own Muse: This song fits perfectly after The Pink Seashell with the orchestral instruments ending in the last one and restarting in this one. They make it feel like these songs belong together and that The Pink Seashell was just a long intro to I Am My Own Muse. The song sounds a lot like a confidence booster but the lyrics are a bit more depressing. My interpretation of the song is that someone’s hard work gets thrown away and destroyed, they really try to keep it together throughout the song but you can hear in the lyrics that they don’t like these events at all.
  9. Flu Game: The song starts off dark and slowly builds up, you expect it to have more of a powerful chorus but nothing is further from the truth, it has a typical uplifting Fall Out Boy chorus with the verses being a bit more dark. The song keeps switching between dark and bright-sounding sounds—honestly a great song. The song however ends with a weird sound that I don’t really know how to describe. It’s kind of a bass tone with a high hat over it, it also doesn’t fit with the rest of the song and ends after a little bit. Maybe the band will use this part for something live.
  10. Baby Annihilation: This is the second song which isn’t really a song. It’s spoken poetry with some ambient noises in the background. Or more the foreground. It almost feels like the ambient noises are as important, if not more important, than the vocals. There are most likely a lot of references that I missed in this song so do give it a listen.
  11. The Kintsugi Kid(Ten Years): I don’t know what to think of this one. It feels like Fall Out Boy but also not. The song has a lot of short lines lyrically instead of a bunch of longer sentences. It feels like a bit of a happy song, I like it but it does feel like something is missing. I think you could describe it best as a song that will make you feel nostalgic. The end of the song is insanely cute with Marvel Jane Love Wentz providing the vocals of the outro.
  12. What A Time To Be Alive: Covid hit us all and so it also hit Fall Out Boy. They describe how the pandemic was for them in this song and how they saw the world. The chorus starts with “Everything is here, except my serotonin” which kind of describes a lot of people during the pandemic I feel like. They end the chorus with the title of the song “What A Time To Be Alive” no one was allowed outside really and the world was in a unique state, in its own negative way of course. This song would have been incredibly relatable for a lot of people during the time of the pandemic.
  13. So Much (For) Stardust: It’s already over, this is the last track of the album. But this song wakes you up again. They chose the best song of the album to be the last song of the album. It completely makes sense why the album is named after this song when you listen to it. The climactic buildups, the dark verses, the vocals of Patrick Stump and the instrumentals in general. You’ll feel like you’re listening to the end credits of the album, but if the end credits were still part of the content. Please give this song a listen if you only have time for one song. It’s so worth it. I’d imagine Fall Out Boy also using this song as the last track on their upcoming tour. You have the outro which is just repeating 2 lines in which you can make the crowd sing and it would give an incredible effect.

I barely have any words for the album, it has everything. From happy moments like So Good Right Now to more sad moments like What A Time To Be Alive to more philosophical songs like The Pink Seashell and Baby Annihilation. I think if I have to summarize it in 1 word it would be ‘stardust’. There are still a lot of albums to come this year but this will most likely be one of the best this year. So Much (For) Stardust is out now and you can listen to it below. Let us know what you think of the album!

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Aspen van der Wijst