So much for nostalgia: Fall Out Boy’s new album


By Brianna Mack
April 12, 2023

Drummer Andy Hurley performs with Fall Out Boy in 2014. Photo by Stefan Brending from Wikimedia.
Drummer Andy Hurley performs with Fall Out Boy in 2014. Photo by Stefan Brending from Wikimedia.

“I can’t stop, can’t stop until we catch all your ears, though,” Fall Out Boy lead singer, Patrick Stump, mutters on track nine of the band’s newest album, “Somewhere between Mike Tyson and Van Gogh.” 

Pete Wentz’s striking prose returns on Fall Out Boy’s latest release, “So Much (For) Stardust.” Relatable-yet-complex zingers about stardom paired with Stump’s emotional delivery challenge idealistic views of fame and rock ’n’ roll. 

Fall Out Boy doesn’t shy away from their diverse influences. They interpolate “September” by Earth, Wind, and Fire into “What A Time to Be Alive” and reference the first punk-rock band the Ramones on “The Kintsugi Kid (Ten Years).” This “rock” band breaks all expectations for their assumed genre.

Kintsugi is a Japanese art form involving breaking pottery and painting it back together using glue mixed with gold dust. Like Kintsugi, “So Much (For) Stardust” pairs pieces of the past with a current analysis of the band’s fame, or “stardust.” 

Hard work keeping dreams alive

After their major label debut in 2005, Fall Out Boy skyrocketed to the alternative front lines. Two more albums, touring, and burnout led them to take a three-year hiatus in 2009. Inspired by pop-punk’s disappearance from popular memory, the band returned with Save Rock and Roll” in 2013.  

A dish repaired by Kintsugi. Photo by Ruthann Hurwitz from Wikimedia.

Versatility in a 20-year-old band is rare but Fall Out Boy loves musical exploration. Their 2018 electro-rock release, “Mania,” earned them a Grammy nomination for best rock album. 

Pixie fever and angel dust” follows the band like a gambler follows their “racehorse on the track,” especially bassist slash frontman Pete Wentz, and Stump. Lead guitarist Joe Trohman and drummer Andy Hurley may only be recognizable to loyal fans like me, but they maintain the complex melodies on every song as Stump leads them through its verses. 

While Fall Out Boy adamantly insists on not remaking their old music, I can’t help but notice the callbacks. The new album’s eighth track, titled “I Am My Own Muse, is a direct reference to a quote by Nigerian performance artist Oroma Elewa and could be an indirect reference to the eighth track on “Infinity on High,” “Don’t You Know Who I Think I Am?” Both songs were co-produced by Stump. 

Also, the band’s Hold Me Like A Grudge” music video continues the narrative of their “This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race” music video. “Arms Race” is their first musical acknowledgment of seemingly overnight fame. 

So much stardust everywhere

Stardom is a complicated topic for famous musicians, especially if their fans view fame as happily-ever-after. Fall Out Boy’s fourth project, “Folie à Deux,” desperately fought against the fourth album curse in a dying genre. 

Lead singer Patrick Stump in 2016. Photo by Arturo Pardavila III from Wikimedia.

The urgency underlying “Folie à Deux” is mimicked on “So Much (For) Stardust.” Both albums were produced by Neal Avron, a staple producer of alternative music, whose roster includes Weezer, Linkin Park, and The Wallflowers. On both records the band performs like it’s their last chance, but instead of a patchwork of anxiety, “So Much (For) Stardust” gratefully accepts every opportunity.

I find Fall Out Boy’s approach to fame valuable. The humble Illinois band understands celebrity is fleeting. That Best Rock Album Grammy nomination could have cemented their youthful hope of mainstream acceptance, yet the band escapes mainstream categories by avoiding trends and staying true to their musical roots. 

With the end in mind, Fall Out Boy intentionally crafts every moment on this record with glittery reflection, but departs from nostalgia. Instead of forgetting about the past, they learn from their mistakes and carry their successes with them. “So Much (For) Stardust” begins a new journey for the band partnered with their old friends. 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Brianna Mack

Brianna Mack is a communications/music industry and business major. Her love of reading, writing, and music blossomed in middle school by writing short stories for class and joining the choir. She started writing for news and was one of the first participants in the choir during her freshman year of high school. In her junior year, she took a course that inspired her to learn intense research methods. These methods apply to the ways she prepares every article and essay that she writes. She enjoys her work in the Writing Center as a peer tutor because she has always loved writing. She is the president of the XMusica Society, which is the presenting organization on campus. Brianna has two younger siblings. She commutes an hour to school every day, is an active member in her church, and helps facilitate a bible discussion group at Swarthmore College.

You May Also Like

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Special Project

Title IX Redefined Website

Produced by Cabrini Communication
Class of 2024

Listen Up

Season 2, Episode 3: Celebrating Cabrini and Digging into its Past


Scroll to Top
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap