By Caitlin Forbes
Fall Out Boy released their new album, “M A N I A”, on Jan. 19, 2018. “Mania” had been teased out with songs that frequented the radio such as “Young and Menace,” “Champions” and “The Last of the Real Ones” to get fans excited about the full album being released. Aside from the rather strange music videos that contain people in llama suits (a storyline that I am still trying to decode), the music is an intriguing combination of encouraging songs, love anthems, pump-up songs and even a slow ballad. The complete album is 10 songs in total, however the plethora of different moods create a sense of greater length.
I won’t pretend to be a previous die-hard fan of Fall Out Boy. Honestly, my “music education” is a bit behind, and I usually succumb to to the top 20 hits on the radio. However, after listening to some of the pre-released songs from Fall Out Boy as recommended by a friend, and the later endless loop of the local radio, I was so excited to listen to the full album. When it was released, the album was all over Twitter and Youtube, and fans already couldn’t wait for the Mania Tour to come around.
The general themes that surface from the songs are a generational love, full of passions of attraction, but also adventure, longing and some darker humor. The album seems to reflect what it is like being a young person in 2018, giving the listener the classic tastes of love, but seen through the lense of what society is today.
For example “Last of the Real Ones” is about praising someone, an implied lover, to be a genuine person, or perhaps a ray of sunshine in what has currently been a turbulent and unstable time for many people. The lyric, “I wonder if your therapist knows everything about me,” stands out when looking at the music from that societal standpoint. It is a positive way of reflecting on how we value mental health as a culture. Previously if songs were to mention people seeing therapists, it would usually connotate only two options: a traumatic experience, or imply that there was something wrong with them. In this case, it casually mentions therapy, indicating it is a tool that anyone can use, whether it is for something traumatic, or you need to get through a rough time in your life.
The slower song on the album, “Heaven’s Gate” could melt anyone’s heart. The song is a ballad, with all of the tropes one can expect such as “fated love,” giving someone everything and taking your loved one’s hand. An unusual move for the band, but it somehow works perfectly with the vibe of the album. All of this alluding to the religious metaphor of “heaven’s gate” implying that the love being asked for can transcend the singer, Patrick Stump, and go to heaven. Known for perhaps stranger and longer song titles, there seems to be many religious allusions found in the songs, “Heaven’s Gate,” “Bishop Knife Trick” and “Church.” For me, this conjures up images of marriage, love and happiness accompanied by some sense of brokeness and searching for your path in life.
This album is diverse in it’s content, allowing it to have something in it for everyone. If you need a good workout song, I recommend “Stay Frosty Royal Milk Tea,”if you’re having a good day, “Champion” would be a great score or if you want a more dramatic love song, “Church” is for you. Whether times are good or bad, this album will speak to individuals, particularly younger audiences, through a more shared sense of modern love and harder times.