MANIA is one of Fall Out Boy’s most important albums.
The sentiment exists as they transition into the next phase of their career. At this point experimentation is expected as is the ability to address serious subject matter as they grow older.
MANIA’s first three tracks showcase a firm understanding of all of this.
“Champion” is the first-pumping tribal anthem that is perfectly suited as the theme song of the playoffs regardless of sport.
Opener “Young And Menace” is electronically all over the place but is somehow held together by the glue of singer Patrick Stump‘s voice.
The same can be said for most of Mania. Fall Out Boy spends a lot of time on new musical outfits but ultimately only Stump is able to weave into each fabric with ease.
When they intertwine drum machines with acoustic drums they fly dangerously to close to the sun of Imagine Dragons territory. Yet somehow Stump sounds more powerful than ever/
When they flip tropical flavors, Stump slides into the groove while “HOLD ME TIGHT OR DON’T’S” sound bed could easily be the overhead audio on a cruise ship.
The traces of distorted angst that put them over the top have been scrubbed. Instead MANIA finds them throwing up their hands saying “well what do we do now?”
Blame the world for some of this as successful artists are crucified for going back to the well too many times to keep the village happy.
MANIA is not terrible and it serves as a good first step towards their next sonic home.