Pop Punk Enthusiasts Rejoice at Fall Out Boy’s Return

Written by Natalie Melendez, Photography by Jonathan Weiner

Five years after the release of Mania (2018), the four-piece from Chicago has announced its upcoming eighth studio album So Much (For) Stardust, out March 24th. Alongside the announcement, the band released their lead single “Love From The Other Side,” which was promptly followed by “Heartbreak Feels So Good.”

In more ways than one, this new era is Fall Out Boy’s salute to their 2000s career. The band has returned to their flagship label, Fueled By Ramen, and are once again collaborating with Neal Avron, producer of three of the band’s most revered albums: From Under the Cork Tree (2005), Infinity on High (2007), and Folie á Deux (2008).  

“It has nothing to do with getting back to the [Folie á Deux] style,” said lead singer Patrick Stump in an interview with Kerrang. “This is not a throwback record in that way. Love From The Other Side has elements of it, but I wanted to get back to the spirit of it, that urgency, and that savoring of every moment. Neal was really amazing at that, being like, ‘We’re gonna spend an inordinate amount of time placing each microphone.’”

Indeed, “Love From The Other Side” taps into the band’s earlier sound. The single’s gentle orchestral intro descends into the band’s signature pop punk roots — edgy guitar and brash drums — 35 seconds into the song, much akin to 2008’s “Disloyal Order of Water Buffaloes.” But its lyrics signal a new wisdom that can only come from having spent over 20 years in the music industry: “We're taught we gotta get ahead, yeah, no matter what it takes/ But there's no way off the hamster wheel on this rat race.” Fall Out Boy are no strangers to the taxing demands of the spotlight, which in the past have contributed to rushed releases and burnout. But “Love From The Other Side” is the band’s survival note. They have made it through “the other side of the apocalypse.”

Heartbreak Feels So Good,” too, shows maturity through its sound and themes. More upbeat and pop-rock than its predecessor, this second single is testament to the band’s sonic range and evolution. The beats are playful and triumphant as initially cautious lyricism becomes a tale of perseverance. “It was an uphill battle/ But they didn’t know, but they didn’t know/ We were gonna use the roads as a ramp to take off,” chants Stump, once again alluding to the band’s longevity and success through a turbulent career; the four-piece made it through the worst of times, and now it’s time to dance. 

Fall Out Boy’s shift in sound and outlook may feel like a long time coming, but it falls perfectly in-line with the current state of the world that has called for the resurgence of pop punk. The 2020s have seen the return of genre trailblazers like My Chemical Romance and Paramore, hints of angst and sharp guitar riffs in recent popular songs — such as “good 4 u” by Olivia Rodrigo and Willow’s latest album, <COPINGMECHANISM> — and the growing appeal of pop-punk-lenient artists such as Machine Gun Kelly. The post-pandemic world, it seems, is seeking solace through the expression of bottled rage and sadness, both of which dominate the pop punk genre.

Fall Out Boy first made their major splash in the pop punk scene in 2003 with Take This To Your Grave. Twenty years later, So Much (For) Stardust is their chance to show the world that they’ve still got it, and that pop punk is definitely still cool in the 2020s.

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