Our Take: 5/5 Stars
Fall Out Boy made music news this past week with an announcement that they have signed with the record label Fueled By Ramen and will release a new album this upcoming spring. “So Much (for) Stardust” will be the band’s first album in five years since the release of “Mania” in 2018, and will come out in its entirety on March 24, 2023. Fueled By Ramen celebrated the band’s return with a series of “welcome back” social media posts. Fall Out Boy released their debut album in 2003 under the label before moving to Island Records. They now return to Fueled By Ramen after twenty years.
In addition to the album and label announcements, guitarist Joe Trohman announced that he would be taking a step back from his professional projects, including Fall Out Boy, in order to take care of his declining mental health. Within his statement, however, he reassured fans that he would “[a]bsolutely, one-hundred percent” be returning to the band once he has had time to recuperate.
The big news came alongside the release of their new single, “Love From The Other Side,” on Jan. 18.
As a band that originated in the hardcore punk scene of Chicago, Fall Out Boy has moved between several genres throughout their career, from emo to pop punk to alternative rock, even to pop, which was seen the most in “Mania.” However, the band’s move towards a more mainstream genre was met with mixed reception, with many fans feeling like they were losing the sound that made them “Fall Out Boy” by moving out of the alternative scene.
However, in a move that, for years now, fans have been hoping for, Fall Out Boy came crashing back to rock and roll with their newest single, “Love From The Other Side.” The almost five minute song is the sound of nostalgia to longtime fans, bringing the band’s entire career together in one track.
The song opens on an orchestral intro with piano and string components, setting a tempo akin to an unfolding fantasy tale. From there, it immediately jumps into an intense combination of thrashing guitar and drums, the tempo increasing before the orchestra rejoins, blending the two styles. Instantly, the punk sound of the instrumentals teleports listeners back to the sound of 2000s Fall Out Boy before their hiatus in 2009.
The sound quality is evident at the first appearance of lead singer Patrick Stump’s vocals, his unique voice distinct from the instrumentals. The audio mixing is again reminiscent of early Fall Out Boy, using single-track vocals instead of the layered ones heard more frequently in their newer albums. As the song continues, portions feature double-tracked segments, most notably the pre-chorus and chorus. Layering the vocals on
top of one another, aka double tracking, adds depth and thickness to the sound. Songs of the band’s newer albums, such as “Mania” and “American Beauty/American Psycho,” leaned heavily into the layered sound, while songs of older ones, such as “From Under The Cork Tree,” used mainly single tracks. “Love From The Other Side” manages to unite the two production styles, including double-tracked vocals in certain moments to add more emphasis to the lyrics. This new style learns from all eras of Fall Out Boy to create a brand new, more balanced overall sound.
Lyrically, the single is heavy in figurative language and abstract ideas instead of lines that can be easily interpreted; this is most comparable to mid-career albums like “Infinity on High” and “Folie à Deux.” Using metaphors, such as those in the lines,
“We were a hammer to the statue of David / We were a painting you could never frame, and / You were the sunshine of my lifetime…,” and similes, like the following:
“[i]nscribed like stone and faded by the rain: ‘Give up what you love … before it does you in.’”
Fall Out Boy paints a vivid picture of a return to life and music after various significant changes. While not all of the experiences were pleasant, they were necessary for the band to experience growth and get to a point where they could send “love from the other side of the apocalypse.” In all facets of the definition, the band’s lyrics could easily be considered pure poetry.
“Love From The Other Side” was also accompanied by a music video, a mix between stop motion and live action. The action-filled, campy video takes place in a fantasy realm, with costuming and effects giving it the feel of a video from the early 2000s rather than one from 2023.
However, the intentionality of this cheesy, mid-quality video turns it into an ode to nostalgia and a visual representation of the way Fall Out Boy seems to be making music simply to have fun. The video also alludes to the band’s return to a more rock sound, with references to early emo bands in storybook titles such as “Where the Wild Things MCR,” “Crime and Punishment at the Disco” and “The Weezer of Oz.” In addition, a significant duration of the video is set on the geographical location of “emo island.”
In just one song, Fall Out Boy has managed to amalgamate elements of their entire career together. They create a sound that reminds listeners of their older music without it feeling like they’re simply “reverting.” The elements of their newer music exist within the song to show the band’s growth; everything they have made seems to have led to this single. While only Fall Out Boy truly knows the fate of their upcoming music, fans can rest easy if “Love From
The Other Side” is any indication of what is to come.