After a long discussion on what to write about this week, we decided to review Fall Out Boy's most recent album, “M A N I A”! Fall Out Boy's sixth studio album, “M A N I A,” was released in January of 2018. While it is a newer sound from the band, the album still has recognizable soulful vocals accompanied by their ever-present powerful strings and drums. To be coherent, we'll add our initials at the end of each analysis.
“Stay Frosty Royal Milk Tea” is easily in my top five favorite songs from this album for the references embedded in the lyrics, how hard the first few seconds of the song go and for how they maintain that energy throughout the song. As the first song on the album, it does a killer job of hyping you up for the album as a whole. Within the first few lines of the song they reference Tonya Harding, who five months prior to the release of “M A N I A” had been featured in a biographical movie. This reference was apparently completely coincidental since the lines were written prior to the Tonya Harding movie but still gives that rebellious feel to it. "I think I got too many memories getting in the way of me / I'm 'bout to go Tonya Harding on the whole world's knee." - AP
The second song on the album, “The Last of the Real Ones,” continues the energy set forth by the opening track. This track is centered around how isolated you can feel before you meet that one good person that can change your whole perspective on life. The references to just how rare of a person the subject is include comparisons to the sun and the revolving planets that follow it as well as a dying breed which only works to further the emphasis of how special this person is. My favorite reference in the song would hands-down have to be the line, "I wonder if your therapist knows everything about me" because of how it mirrors the lines in "I Don't Care" where Wentz states, "I don’t care what you think, as long as it’s about me."
Overall, “The Last of the Real Ones” has such an infectious energy that makes me appreciate my loved ones and want to remind my friends and family how much they mean to me while simultaneously urging me to simply sit back and vibe. -AP
"HOLD ME TIGHT OR DON'T" is the third song on the album and feels like the most relevant to the theme of "M A N I A" and the feelings of manic behavior— from the title being in all caps to the lyrics showing how attached the narrator has gotten to his subject. The not-so-subtle implication parallels how children get attached to their teddy bears and the narrator is so attached to this other person that he feels the want and need to have hold of every little piece of them because "I love you to death." The energy set forth from the first few songs are now being put via this display of manic affection. - AP
The fourth song on the album, "Wilson," written by all four of the members, pays a small homage to the film "Cast Away" featuring Tom Hanks. This song is a bit of everything with nods to different films, the problem with fame, love and adoration, and of course the band's most recent hard-core emo lyric, "I'll stop wearing black when they make a darker color." The song's alternate title, "Expensive Mistakes," is a broad enough theme that each previously mentioned issue can be tied back to the understanding that the narrator is less than satisfied with their fame and the mistakes they've made reaching it. While it has a nice medium level energy-wise compared to other songs on the album, it is still a pop rock song that has a strong, easy to follow chorus. The song is definitely one to blast when you're feeling any kind of way, from feeling petty towards the pick-up that cut you off on your way to school, to trying to hype yourself up to write that six-page, single-spaced analysis due in less than 24 hours. - FC
Arguably one of 2018's best love songs is the fifth song on “M A N I A.” “Church” includes a prevailing religious theme used to represent the level of love, devotion and submission the narrator has for their love interest. The four members were joined by Kate York and Audra Mae when writing the song, and it features sounds usually heard during church like an organ and a choir. The song has a fun, strong arrangement by having a more subdued version of the chorus at the beginning of the song and then immediately following it with a cacophony of drums, pipe organs, and powerful vocals from both lead singer Patrick Stump and a choir. Regardless of its more romantic theme, the song's strong instrumental will hype you up as you get ready for a night out or maybe even enough to ask the cutie at the bar if they come here often. - FC
My personal favorite song from the album, and apparently the most "natural" song for the members to create and play, is "Heaven's Gate." The song continues with the theme of a religious type of love and admiration but has a very different sound than expected from Fall Out Boy; it is a more soulful song vocally, with a generally slower and softer ensemble of guitars, keyboard, and drums, or, that is, as slow and soft as a pop rock band can be. The song can be understood as the narrator asking their lover for salvation from their stressful and unhappy life. I would recommend this song for your long-night-of-studying playlist as a quick mood boost and an aid to avoid falling asleep on page five of your 21-page assigned reading. - FC
“Sunshine Riptide” is the album's eighth song and features a soft low rap verse from Burna Boy. The song was written by the four bandmates along with Sia and Jesse Shatkin. The song is another new sound from the band— a tropical take on their pop-rock. The term "sunshine ridptide" can be understood as a nearly dangerous, never-ending euphoria by breaking up the terms; the sunshine is the happiness you feel and the riptide is the danger that comes with having too much fun. The song represents this theme by having pessimistic stanzas encasing the full and upbeat chorus. I'm probably just stressed at the moment, but I would recommend you listen to this song when the weight on your shoulders gets to be a bit too much and you need that moment of realization; if others can do it, why can't you? - FC
“Young and Menace” is the ninth song and starts with a somber tone that turns gradually more chaotic as it progresses. “Young and Menace” is a reflection of how you get to a point in life where you are physically an adult but can still have the mindset of a kid. Maybe you want to do something chaotic or out of line, but you should know better. To Wentz, this song symbolizes how he didn't have a place to "fit in," but then he found punk rock and felt like he finally had somewhere he belonged. This song is one of my favorites because it's easy to listen to. For lack of better words, it is a song you can listen to and tune in to anytime, simply having it playing in the background. This is easily one of the best songs on my study playlist. - AP
The final song on the album, “Bishops Knife Trick,” is probably the most reference-heavy song in the album with several references to the struggles of Pete Wentz, nods at their older songs, wedding vows and of course it's title reference to "Alien." The band thanks and credits DJ Rose and family for allowing them to use their wedding vows, "Til the earth starts to crumble and the heavens roll away," would then become, "And I'm yours 'til the earth starts to crumble and the heavens roll Away." I would recommend this song when you're just not feeling it after a long week; after all, feeling down isn't a bad thing, and crying it out can be a healthy thing. - FC
12/10 stream “M A N I A” for good vibes.