I think one of my favorite things about Fall Out Boy is the way the songs bring people together. “Thnks fr th mmrs” and “Sugar, We’re Going Down” are catchy as all hell, but if you’ve ever screamed them in a car with your best friend, you get this feeling like you could push every bad feeling you’ve ever felt out of your mouth into that moment. Save Rock and Roll certainly had songs for car rides, and although American Beauty/American Psycho wasn’t my cup of tea, I’m sure somebody is screaming it somewhere.
So, yeah, maybe I went into M A N I A with high expectations and memories of Fall Out Boy music that I’ve hoarded like they were cats, but Mania just didn’t feel right.
The vocals were there, and I could recognized the musicians’ sound and influences, but I felt like I was listening to something so much less than Fall Out Boy.
For starters, the album sounds like something a DJ cut apart and is blasting at a club: heavy electronic influence, more emphasis on heavy beat than guitar and lyrics that while not necessarily bad, aren’t something I’d ever expect Fall Out Boy to try to slip past us.
Is it the worst thing I’ve ever listened to? No. The first three songs “Young and Menace,” “Champion” And “Stay Frosty Royal Milk Tea” are a good time and “Wilson (Expensive Mistakes)” is something I could definitely dance to (even if the lyrics aren’t the most original), and I’m all for artist growth. It’s dumb when people bitch and moan about an artist selling out just because their sound changed. But, this doesn’t feel like growth, this feels like someone else’s music with flashes of the familiar.
But since I was confused, I had no idea what I was listening to or how to react to it, I did my research. According to a Rolling Stone article, this album is suppose to be something of a “palate cleanser,” after the releases of the similar sounding records American Beauty/American Psycho and Save Rock and Roll. Would it be so strange to imagine Pete Wentz wanting to disrupt any preconceived notions about his music? To rattle our expectations to give the band more artist freedom?
If that’s all the goal was for this album, that’s great, cause that’s all this is. It doesn’t carry the same weight, themes or musical qualities as anything before it. If you’re bored and sick of whatever you’ve been listening to, listen to MANIA, otherwise maybe just wait for the next thing.