Fall Out Boy welcome a return to rock with their most complete record in years
Sometime in 2022, Fall Out Boy joined a strange but constantly expanding club – that of a band who’ve been on their reunion run for longer than they lasted to begin with. It’s fitting, then, that for new album So Much (For) Stardust, their eighth full-length effort, they’ve decided to revisit the sonics and direction of 2008’s Folie À Deux, an album that so divided fans and the band itself that it almost broke them.
In his interview ahead of the album, frontman Patrick Stump has called the new album: “…what it would have sounded like if we had made a record right after Folie À Deux instead of taking a break for a few years, like exploring the multiverse”. To do this, they’ve reunited with producer Neal Avron, who the band haven’t worked with since that record, and left behind the scattergun pop of 2018’s Mania, with turbo-charged guitars powering things once again.
So Much (For) Stardust isn’t a throwback to the band’s defining pop-punk anthems like ‘Sugar, We’re Going Down’, but it is the tightest, and certainly the most coherent record the band have made since 2007’s Infinity On High. From the brooding opening salvo of ‘Love from the Other Side’ and the full-hearted Queen-esque stomper ‘Heaven, Iowa’, to the disco-circling ‘What A Time To Be Alive’, it’s the band’s first real rock record since those heady days.
No Fall Out Boy record is a linear experience, and there are some more esoteric touches. ‘The Pink Seashell’ recruits Ethan Hawke to deliver a spoken word piece inspired by Reality Bites. ‘Baby Annihilation’ sees bassist and lyricist Pete Wentz go full J.D Sallinger. But here the experimentation has been reined in for sure.
So Much (For) Stardust doesn’t have the cocksure swagger of the records that made Fall Out Boy global superstars, nor does it have the stadium-filling choruses, but it is the most complete record they’ve made in a long, long time. More importantly, it sounds like a record made by a band in love with what they’ve done before and what they might do in the future.