Fall Out Boy: M A N I A (Island Records)

  Fall Out Boy’s sound has evolved throughout each of their albums, growing from early ‘00s pop punk and turning into solid, modern rockers. The band’s seventh album, M A N I A, dropped on Jan. 19 and not only has Fall Out Boy evolved over time, but in recent years, they have become quite experimental — more so than ever as evident on this new record. “Thnks Fr Th Mmrs” is barely comparable to “Young and Menace,” a single — also the opening track — off their latest album, but that is more than ok. You can still detect Patrick Stump’s striking vocals above all the beats (both instrumental and electronic) in every song. It is a bit of a new direction for the band, with some kinks that are still to be worked out, but it remains an exciting direction nonetheless.

  If you are in need of a pop fix, “The Last of the Real Ones” is the song for you. Amid synthesizer laced tracks and Stump’s crazy vocal range, a true radio hit emerges. “The Last of the Real Ones” is catchy, upbeat, and was written a week after the album’s first release date of Sept. 15, 2017. It is a quintessential, heart-beating fast, romantic, pop song that makes me quite happy for the push back on the original release date. The music video is just as wildly intriguing as the song, even if it is just a parody of Kanye West’s “Flashing Lights” music video.

  About half way through the album, my favorite song comes on and gives you a fresh dosage of more soulful, melodic music. “Heaven’s Gate,” is the record’s eighth track, and arguably the best. Like some of the more electronic songs on M A N I A, it doesn’t necessarily feel like a Fall Out Boy song, but it still holds an undeniable talent and passion that is uniquely theirs. Its depth in the lyrics is not comparable to a single other track, as it seems to describe a character who does not feel as though Heaven will accept them, because they spent so long being materialistic and overdramatic; not focusing on the true meaning of life as their romantic partner did.

  For their first studio album since 2015’s American Beauty/American Psycho, M A N I A doesn’t exactly deliver. Don’t get me wrong, I love almost every song — but I do so individually. The 10-track album is just about 35 minutes long and is the fuel you need in the morning. Think of it like coffee, but mixed with every flavoring that the coffee shop offers. There are hints of reggae, dashes of pop, a sprinkling of classic rock, and a few pumps of EDM in there. Not to mention a few shots of music culture. (They collaborated with Sia on “Champion,” hint at Britney Spears’ arguably most popular song, and make some classic rock and hip-hop references, as well.) In my opinion, M A N I A is what you need to start your day, but not exactly what you were expecting to be handed; especially after waiting so long.