Fall Out Boy releases eighth studio album

Trenedy Parks, Staff Writer

Fall Out Boy released their 8th studio album- So Much (For) Stardust- on Mar. 24. The album consists of 13 tracks – 11 songs and two interludes. The run-time on the album is 44 minutes and 14 seconds. 

The album is produced through the label Fueled by Ramen. Fall Out Boy used this label early in their career, producing their debut album “Take This to Your Grave”. The other 6 albums were produced under Island Records. 

So Much (For) Stardust is very similar to the feel of their fourth studio album “Folie a Deux”, it feels like the band is just making music true to them and not keeping up with the ever-changing trends. Many pop-punk and emo listeners are calling the return of Fall Out Boy and Paramore: “The emo Renaissance.”

The album starts with two early released singles: “Love From The Other Side” and “Heartbreak Feels So Good”; released on Jan. 18 and Jan. 25, respectively. They are both singles that feature sing-along choruses and the punk-pop melody with intense guitar and drums. 

The lyrics in “Love From The Other Side” is filled with the heavy feeling of being restrained and the struggle of complacency. The verses describe feeling too grand for their surroundings. The lyrics “We were a painting you could never frame” and “this city always hangs a little bit lonely on me, loose” is full of both the ideas of being too much and not enough. The chorus speaks of how the love between two people is still there over these troubling feelings and the damaged relationship.

“Track 2” or “Heartbreak Feels So Good” speaks of a post-relationship plea for the other to pretend for a few minutes longer, saying they can cry later because this heartbreak feels too good right now. The lyrics: “We could dance our tears away/ Emancipate ourselves/ We’ll cry later or cry now, but baby Heartbreak feels so good.” are evidence of the willingness to hold on to the fleeting feeling as long as possible. Interpretations of this song can vary from a romantic relationship to Joe Trohman’s recently announced hiatus from the band.

In a post on Fall Out Boy’s Instagram, Trohman spoke to fans about his struggle with burnout. He started the post out with a quote from Neil Young, describing how Young was wrong and “unequivocally that burning out is dreadful,” and ends the heartfelt post with a sign-off, “Smell you sooner than later, Joe Trohman.” He feels he should take a break from the band to avoid a possible complete ending for him in the band. The band has shown their support for him. 

Track 3 on the album is titled “Hold Me Like a Grudge” and doesn’t stray too terribly far from the other two lyrically and musically. Although the song still has the Alternative feel that everyone knows and loves, it has also pulled in a bit of the feel from their seventh album “Mania”, which took on a more electronic and EDM feel. The dissonance of the line “You put the fun in dysfunction” helps make that connection musically. The lyrics also follow the same “emo” theme of a pessimistic world. Lyricist Pete Wentz writes in riddle and allusions, evident in the past albums, and is no different here. The lines “And I guess I’m getting older ‘cause I’m less pissed/ We didn’t make to your year-end best list/ Not the end of the world, the end of the world” is about the not-so-kind remarks and backlash the band faced over “Mania”. As the band has aged they seem to care less about what others think. “Hold Me Like a Grudge” feels like “I Don’t Care” (a hit song from “Folie a Deux”) in the way of describing the modern world and society. 

“Fake Out” is the fourth track on the album, unlike the other songs, it starts with a slower tempo and feels somber. The song’s lyrics have themes of distrust, disbelief, and paranoia. Speaking about how this relationship is great but holds no future. The repeating line “So, make no plans and none can be broken/ No plans and none can be broken” shows how if he makes no promises for the future no one can be disappointed. This has less of an alternative rock feel and more of a pop feel. Though it still stays true to the pop-punk melodies and sing-along choruses. 

The next track on the album is “Heaven, Iowa”. This song picks back up the rock theme, drums are very present in this song and it puts the guitar in the background. The lyrics center heavily around mortality. The first verse references many old movies like “Moonlight Sonata” and “Mulholland Drive”, which all have themes of the consequences of actions and sad irony. The first line of the chorus is a play on words: “Scar-crossed lovers” instead of “Star-crossed lovers”. “Scar” instead of “star” can imply that the relationship is no good and causes metaphorical scars along their hearts and souls, or it could reference two deeply troubled individuals falling in love. 

“So Good Right Now” is the sixth track on the album. It feels almost sarcastic. The tune feels similar to the hit “Young Volcanoes” on the 2013 “Save Rock and Roll” album. Carefree and happy with the fast and upbeat tune. Though the lyrics are contradictory, “Feeling so good right now/ ‘till we crash and burn somehow” saying that they are riding high but are prepared for it to crash at any given time. The song describes being in a relationship where they had to mold themselves into something they aren’t for the sake of the partner and they won’t last but they are riding it out. 

The first interlude of the album is “ The Pink Seashell” featuring Ethan Hawke. The interlude is Ethan Hawke in the movie “Reality Bites” speaking about how when his character’s father was diagnosed with cancer, he gave him a pink seashell which made him realize that there is no real meaning to life. Then this causes him to take everything in life very seriously. 

The song “I am My Own Muse” follows the interlude. This song is Alternative rock in every sense of the word. It is a song that makes you headbang and sing along. Very present guitar and drums. It fills you with a sense of Rock and angst like their older songs. This song seems to be about this album in general. Lines like “I was faded in my own defense”, meaning that being “faded” is an excuse to excuse the choice ( presumably to make another album), and “So let’s twist the knife again like we did last summer” referencing the album “mania” saying that they’ll make a new album even though the last one’s reactions hurt them. But the song is a great return to the early angst and “screw it” nature of Fall Out Boy.

“Flu Game” is the next track on the album. The title references Michael Jordan’s famous game where he played under the weather and still scored 38 points. Unlike “So Good Right Now”, this song talks about how they can’t fit into the mold that they are supposed to be in anymore. The line “Oh, please, I can’t be who you need me to be” states this very clearly. The lyrics speak of how they are working so hard on music because of the fear of being forgotten with time. Musically, the song sounds newer than the rest, more pop and less rock. 

The second interlude “Baby Annihilation” is slam poetry performed by bassist Pete Wentz. It just speaks of insincerity and past love and how luck had run out. Speaking on how things come and go, especially fame. The final line “What is there between us, if not a little annihilation?” seems to mean that human existence itself is annihilation, we create and destroy. 

Track 11 is “The Kintsugi Kid (ten years)”. The lyrics here start strong by saying that his presence is a drug and he is often not anybody’s intended dosage. Implying that he can be too much for anyone. This song is more of a trip down memory lane. Saying that they spent ten years in a “chemical haze” presumably meaning drugs. Musically it is a sing-along and pop-punk song. It feels like their album “American Beauty/American Psycho” The lines ”Passed my old street, the house I grew up in/ It breaks your heart, but four of the Ramones are dead” help fit this theme of memories and the past. 

“What a Time to be Alive” is track 12. This song has the same feel as Paramore’s “Ain’t it Fun” in the sarcastic tune. The song’s lyrics say that we look back on 2019 as when the calm before the apocalypse began. “What a Time to be Alive” is the epitome of a truly pitiful party song. The line “the view so pretty from the deck of a sinking ship” means that it’s easy to look at the world ending through rose-colored lenses. It has the same musical melody as “ The Kintsugi Kid (ten years)” but is more upbeat. 

The final song on the album is “So Much (For) Stardust”. This song ends the album in a very big and orchestral way. Putting the feeling of sliding that bookend on the shelf. It’s been discovered that humans are made of literal stardust. This line, the album’s title track, could be another way of saying “so much for humanity” as humanity can do and has historically done terrible things. The song is an amazing way to end the album and encompass it musically.

Overall the album is an amazing addition to Fall Out Boy’s studio albums. They finally began to make music they felt like making and the end product is a fun and emotional album that recounts struggles and shortcomings.