Fall Out Boy's latest record has had a pretty rough history. Initially announced for a September release, the band felt as if the album just wasn't ready yet and pushed it back. The singles didn't impress many, but now that the album is here, is seems that those worries were for nothing. Fall Out Boy explode with pop flair in MANIA, embracing a poppier attitude while still sounding as massive as ever.
Right from the beginning, you know things are going to get a bit wild. The pulsing, almost industrial synth hits of 'Stay Frosty Royal Milk Tea' bring the record off to a thrilling start, Patrick Stump's dramatic voice bringing in some beautiful melodies. The chorus is just badass, Stump chanting "Are you smelling that shit? Eau de résistance! The only thing that's ever stopping me is me" atop the punchy instrumental. This entire song is just badass, filled with awesome drive, subtle electronics that add depth, and a rebellious angle that speaks to Fall Out Boy's old sound while still perfectly combining it with the new. Other songs that do similar building upon the band's past include 'Champion,' which has the grandiose of 'Centuries' and an uplifting tone, sounding even better in the context of the album than it did as a single, and 'Hold Me Tight Or Don't,' that has an infectious melody and pop rock air to it similar to some of the band's more popular singles.
MANIA is a major step forward for Fall Out Boy. They fully embrace electronica after toying with it in 2015's American Beauty / American Psycho, but manage to keep sight of who they are while evolving their sound. It's like Weezer's Pacific Daydream done better; 'The Last Of The Real Ones' really sells that comparison, the punchy piano intro leading to huge vocal delivery from Stump and an epic presence and drive that's just explosive. 'Young and Menace,' while still not a fantastic song, does sound a lot more at home in the context of the album than it did as a standalone single. The band even experiments with some new sounds, such as the grand choir in 'Church' that aids the powerful drive (and serves as a precursor for the much more churchy, powerful 'Heaven's Gate' that follows it), and the interesting collaboration with Burna Boy in 'Sunshine Riptide,' where Stump tries at a hip-hop flow out for himself, briefly. The album ends with 'Bishops Knife Trick,' where the choruses are driven by huge bass synths and Stump's soulful melodies, giving MANIA a powerful end.
Fall Out Boy explode with pop flair in MANIA, evolving in a way that they've been trying to for years. They've perfectly blended their pop rock presence with a new electronic element, each song intrinsically being a Fall Out Boy song but taking on a new form. It's refreshing to hear and certainly exceeds expectations. Fall Out Boy are finally back on track.
Favorite Tracks: Stay Frosty Royal Milk Tea, The Last Of The Real Ones, Bishops Knife Trick, Heaven's Gate
Least Favorite Tracks: Sunshine Riptide, Young and Menace
Rating: 92 / 100
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