Fall Out Boy released an album in 2013 that was a certified success story. Save Rock and Roll was a monster. After years off and a hiatus, the band came back with that album and grew bigger than ever. They weren’t just for teenage girls anymore, they were for everyone. The album after that, American Beauty/American Psycho took cues from that album and implemented some new things. The new Fall Out Boy album, M A N I A makes that 2013 release seem like a distant memory.
While the band has done enough to put them at the top of the alternative rock genre heap for now, this album doesn’t really help their cause. It’s debatable if it hurts it. “M A N I A” is largely an up and down affair. For every moment that there’s a catchy melody, cool guitar riff or a fantastic vocal from Patrick Stump – there are three to five moments of inconsistent production that tries too hard to be something more than what Fall Out Boy is. The songs that come close to being in the band’s old style - or even their style on the last album - don’t come close enough for longtime fans to enjoy. The songs that implement minimalist guitars and just focus on electronic production and synth-heavy beats and bass are just a mess. “HOLD ME TIGHT OR DON’T” and “Champion” are easily the band’s best songs on this record. “The Last of The Real Ones” is close to being in that group. Everything else feels too forced to recommend more than one listen.
After “Champion” and “HOLD ME TIGHT OR DON’T” didn’t become hits for the band, the business end for Fall Out Boy decided to scrap what the band had. They reworked M A N I A, delaying the album from September to January. They probably should have kept what they had. The two songs released weren’t hits because of four years of oversaturation of singles and synchronizations, not because they weren’t good songs. Let’s hope this album’s lack of big hits doesn’t lead to the band going on hiatus again but that they take a brief step back and get back to what they do best.