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Fall Out Boy’s new album proves pop-punk isn’t dead yet

Fall Out Boy’s new album proves pop-punk isn’t dead yet

Fall Out Boy’s new album proves pop-punk isn’t dead yet
April 08
12:00 2023

Two months after Panic! At the Disco disbanded, surviving “emo trinity” group Fall Out Boy released its eighth studio album, “So Much (For) Stardust,” proving that pop-punk is not dead yet.

“SM(F)S” is a welcome return to a more traditional sound from the band after its 2018 album “MANIA.” Its heavy electropop sound was considered a flop by many fans and critics, largely because it was so different than previous albums.

It has been 20 years since the release of Fall Out Boy’s debut album, and the popular music landscape has changed significantly. Even though the band has moved away from its history of long and confusing song titles (“From Under the Cork Tree,” I’m looking at you), Fall Out Boy has continued to stay true to its pop-punk roots while remaining relevant. 

“SM(F)S” undeniably has a stronger pop sound than its early predecessors, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. After all, pop is in the name of their genre. For this album, the band returned to the label Fueled By Ramen — the same label used for their 2003 debut “Take This To Your Grave.”

Earlier this year, two singles from the album were released: “Love From The Other Side” and “Heartbreak Feels So Good.” Both songs are upbeat and have heavy drums and guitar during their catchy choruses — classic marks of a pop-punk track.

These songs gave hope that the rest of the album would have the same sound. For the most part, fans were not disappointed. 

There are several things done well on the record. The members of Fall Out Boy are entering their 40s, so they have a very different outlook on life than they did 20 years ago, and this album reflects that. 

So Good Right Now,” the sixth song on the album, opens with the lines “I got this doom and gloom in my mind, yeah / I got this doom and gloom, but I feel all right,” and repeats “I know, I know I’ve made mistakes, yeah / I know, I know, but at least they were mine to make.” This could suggest a more mature handle on emotions that previously characterized the band as emo.

Aside from the song’s lyrics, it has a classically pop-punk sound paired with a swing-like rhythm, which is really enjoyable. This song is one of the strongest on the album.

“SM(F)S” has a cohesive flow throughout its tracks. Listeners do not feel like victims of whiplash from quickly jumping from one song to a dramatically different one, which is sometimes felt when listening to an album from start to finish. 

While songs on an album being entirely dialogue are not all that impressive, listeners can appreciate the addition of “The Pink Seashell” with Ethan Hawke and “Baby Annihilation.”

The first minute-long song is a dialogue track with Hawke speaking about a reflection on lessons from a late father with a musical backing from the band. “Baby Annihilation” seems to be a spoken poem or lyrics to a song full of metaphors about aging.

Both songs add a lot of artistic and thematic value to the album, coinciding with the idea that the band has matured with age. However, these tracks are sure to be skipped when listening casually. “The Pink Seashell” works better as a spoken piece because it is a story, but “Baby Annihilation” would have worked better as an actual song.

The song “So Much (For) Stardust” closes out the album in a satisfying way, repeating lyrics and musical motifs from the first song on the album, “Love From The Other Side.” The lyrics confirm the band and album’s reflective maturity, with lines like “I need the sound of crowds or I can’t fall asleep at night,” or the repeating “thought we had it all, thought we had it all.”

While pop-punk hasn’t died quite yet, we must come to terms with the fact that it has grown older and the genre’s hypothetical frontal lobe has developed. “SM(F)S” is nowhere near the angst level of earlier albums like “Infinity on High” or even “Save Rock and Roll,” but maybe we no longer need Fall Out Boy to give us so much angst.

This is not the best album Fall Out Boy has released, but it also is not the worst — and hopefully not the last. 

Kaitlynn’s rating: 3.8/5

Image Source Apple Music

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Kaitlynn Hutchins

Kaitlynn Hutchins

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