Album Review: Fall Out Boy’s ‘So Much (for) Stardust’

6 mins read


Chicago rocker's triumphant return makes you want to sing until your lungs give out.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Chicago rocker’s triumphant return makes you want to sing until your lungs give out.

It begins with piano keys, an orchestra, and the siren call of frontman Patrick Stump’s dulcet tones. The Chicago rocker’s triumphant return is an amazing evolution of past records. With Love from the other side a roaring rollercoaster of a track that settles you into the familiar sound of Stump we’ve been missing. Andy Hurley on drums is phenomenal as you can’t help but stomp your feet and sing “every lovers got a little dagger in the hand”, it’s for sure a great start to the ride.

Fall Out Boy has also signed to an emo powerhouse label, Fuelled by Ramen (Panic at the disco, Paramore) for their first album since their debut, Take this to your Grave.  Of course, with that Neil Avron’s production sound, who also worked on the band’s most loved albums like 2005’s From Under the Cork Tree and 2007’s Infinity on High, So Much (for) Stardust stands on a good foundation for a pop-punk classic.

Nostalgia-filled Hold me like a grudge is a continuation of the famous This Ain’t a Scene and flows with the same tongue-in-cheek attitude of the original. Fake Out and So Good Right Now gives pop sensibilities and the former makes me want to get up and dance or go to a drive-in with my crush, making a different but welcoming tempo change.

The visceral reaction I had to songs like Flu Game and I Am My Own Muse are reminiscent of those earlier punchy choruses and (not so) catchy titles and melodic lines. Patrick’s vocals really stand out in Heaven, Iowa reminding us of what happens when the party ends and in The Pink Seashell from the Ethan Hawke film Reality Bites. The character says that life is pointless and the true meaning of selling out, echoes what the band felt when making the record.

Even Pete Wentz’s spoken parts on the Baby Annihilation to me feel like part of 20 Dollar Nose Bleed, harking back to “I’m just a racehorse on a track, send me back, to the glue factory”. In the way that being older and jaded by the effects of mega rock stardom and the pandemic influences, a major theme throughout and a reference to the past and future of the band, with “Two masks underneath and angel dust”.

The Kintsugi Kid and What a Time To Be Alive are giving me nostalgia for Earth, Wind & Fire sampled and may be the happiest depressing song to dance to and might have given me a midlife crisis but in a good way.

The final track is the album nom de Guerre, So Much for Stardust and perfectly encapsulates what this album is trying to say, “so much for stardust, thought we had it all”, really reflecting the reason they made this record and the nod to the opening track ties in perfectly.

Final thoughts

Speaking to Zane Lowe, when talking about the influences and comparisons to old albums, Stump and Wentz said that “there was a sense of urgency with Folie that we didn’t know how long things would last?

“So, the attitude was that, if this is the last album the label might pay for a full orchestra, just go for it”. And full of attitude, it defiantly is. This sounds like what Fall Out Boy should be and sees the band depart from the dance dubstep synth wave of MANIA. The latest outing seems to be more evolution than EDM and sonically sounds like what all these “revival” pop punk bands of the 2000s are looking to capture recently (Brendon Urie, I’m looking at you).

This is a very replayable record is full of feel-good hits and tongue-in-cheeks quips to dance and scream to. It takes you on a roller coaster of far and recent past and the sense of nostalgia is inspired and charming. Although the band say it’s not a throwback record, would it be so bad if it was? I don’t think it would.

You can catch Fall Out Boy on the UK leg of the Stardust tour later this year here

Stream So Much (for) Stardust on all music platforms now.

Featured Image Credit: Pamela Littky

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