LP Review; Fall Out Boy: “So Much (For) Stardust”

I will be honest, after their last record, I was apprehensive and nervous for new music from Fall Out Boy, but I can say that: I am glad I gave it a spin. At first glance, when looking at the album cover, the band is already giving us the impression of their older works like “Infinity On High” as the artwork isn’t overly flashy but has a tinge of the odd. Aesthetically, they are leading us there.

That connection- not flashy but a tinge odd- does work, surprisingly, when trying to undercover the music that we find on the inside. Personally, as I listen to records, I can tell within the first couple seconds if I am going to be in or out- “Love From the Other Side” had my jaw dropped and my ear leaning in. A good sign, my friends, a good sign.

Nostalgia has been a big music theme in 2023, and Fall Out Boy is riding that wave. Their music is holding a torch to the Punk Rock scene of 2008-2013, and I think that is helping this record grow in popularity. From here, we are hearing the witty and catchy choruses that give the “let me scream this at the Vans Warped Tour” vibes. This is partnered with plot driven “narratives” that match the theme of the song in the verses of each selection. The music that supports the lyrics are complementary- in a monophonic fashion- in most instances. 

One thing that I really wanted to discuss is Fall Out Boy’s orchestration throughout the record and their approach to accompaniment in general. One key aspect of Punk music from the era designated above is contrast. The instrumentation works with the lyrics in a way that makes the music different from track to track. While working under the umbrella of the rock pattern on the drums, Fall Out Boy provides simple counter-lines through the guitar, and has a pointed bass line that drives the momentum forward for each selection. Yes, this might be a tad wordy, but I say it to point out that the layered approach to writing from before is making a comeback here in this record: with a modern flair. 

A modern flair: what do I mean? Well, throughout the record, we can hear a few instrumental techniques that are upgraded from the music in the past. The first would be in the inclusion of synthesized sounds that are major to alternative music today. These sections are used to work with the guitar line and provide small motifs that add to the atmosphere that Fall Out Boy creates for each song. This soundscape also includes approaches from the Classical Music genre. 

I don’t know, it may just be the music educator in me, but I love the Classical meets Rock music crossover- I mean, what could be more hype? There is something about a groovy horn and strings line that just elevates a musical number. All in all, I give this record a solid 4 out of 5 stars. There is a lot of this record that I love, but I don’t find myself coming back to the album as a whole- just a few tracks. 

*”So Much (For) Stardust” was released on March 24th, 2023 by Fueled by Ramen under exclusive license to Elektra Music Group Inc.

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