Fall Out Boy
So Much (For) Stardust


4.2
excellent

Review

by Rowan5215 STAFF
March 26th, 2023 | 208 replies


Release Date: 03/24/2023 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Detox just to retox.

Without ever acknowledging what they were doing, Fall Out Boy, in the lead-up to So Much (For) Stardust, embarked on an image rehabilitation that primed longtime fans to expect something great before a single note had been debuted. Re-teaming with golden age producer Neal Avron, signing back to Fueled by Ramen and giving a series of interviews with Joe Trohman praising the return of guitars and Patrick Stump comparing the new album to a bridge between Folie a Deux and Save Rock and Roll, the band subtly realigned expectations away from their disastrous last two albums towards something like optimism.

It's a clever trick, especially given that So Much (For) Stardust is less a full-throttle return to a pre-hiatus sound and more a summation of the band's entire career, with flourishes of Stump's unjustly overlooked Soul Punk thrown in for good measure. The welcome return of Avron did not push the band straight back into the pop-punk angst and melodrama of From Under the Cork Tree, undoubtedly for the better. Instead the producer strips away the suffocating layers of unnecessary production which choked all life out of MANIA, restoring a freeing sense of dynamics and coaxing out the best performance from Stump in more than a decade.

The band simply sounds at ease throughout So Much (For) Stardust, their most consistent album since Infinity on High and certainly best since Folie. Trohman, let off the leash for the first time since Pax AM Days, absolutely steals the show with a flurry of riffs across the record, while Pete Wentz makes a welcome comeback to the too-clever-by-half lyricism he originally made his kingdom, dropping lines like "running middle fingers through the red lights" which make you laugh and roll your eyes at the same time. His creative chemistry with Stump is the strongest it's been in a long time, peaking on "The Kintsugi Kid (Ten Years)", a reckoning of Wentz's history of drug addiction paired with an absolutely incredible chorus melody which may just be one of the strongest songs the band has ever made.

Really though, there's an embarrassment of riches to pick from here, whether it's the delightfully sticky hooks of "Heartbreak Feels So Good" and "Fake Out", indie-pop tracks which lean closest to the MANIA sound with infinitely stronger melodies and production; the Disney-villain operatic sweep of "Heaven, Iowa" and "I Am My Own Muse"; or the Prince-indebted Soul Punk throwbacks "So Good Right Now" and "What a Time to Be Alive". When So Much (For) Stardust missteps, it does so in a way that's bizarrely endearing, thanks to the goodwill accrued by how much fucking better it is than anyone expected. The corny Wentz spoken word interlude "Baby Annihilation" elicits a nostalgic groan that calls right back to similar silly discursions on "The Carpal Tunnel of Love" and "20 Dollar Nose Bleed", while "Flu Game" is only guilty of being less memorable than all the songs that surround it.

When the title track winds down to a genuinely epic close, reprising a memorable line from opener "Love from the Other Side" with a chorus of choral voices fading out behind Stump's vocal acrobatics, it's honestly difficult not to wonder if a) the singer sold his goddamn soul to the devil and b) Fall Out Boy have somehow made one of their best albums in 2023. The raw energy and occasionally questionable anger of their early years has nicely matured into a confidence and consistency that they've never had before, a diverse set of songs which feels more than the sum of its parts thanks to the band's locked-in chemistry with their longtime producer. Certainly if So Much (For) Stardust is the beginning of the band's third trilogy, as Stump claims in interviews, the future is looking pretty bright: even the most cynical of former fans may be retoxing on Fall Out Boy sooner rather than later.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
March 26th 2023


47661 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

wild how good this is. they freaked it

Manatea
Staff Reviewer
March 26th 2023


1942 Comments


A) fantastic review
B) I’m utterly surprised at how much I’m enjoying this

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
March 26th 2023


18258 Comments


Didn't realize these guys are still a thing

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
March 26th 2023


60571 Comments

Album Rating: 2.8

what the unwholesome tenuously post-adolescent hell is the state of that BNM tab right now



Gnocchi for the love of God please drop your NeO review, we are rock bottoming hard rn

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
March 26th 2023


18258 Comments


Will be around shortly dear. Please put the kettle on or get the fine brandy out.

zakalwe
March 26th 2023


38956 Comments


Your minds have been mulched by the eternal bullshit

Open your ears and refocus.

This is fucking rubbish!!!

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
March 26th 2023


47661 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

silence gorillaz simp.

zakalwe
March 26th 2023


38956 Comments


I was waiting for that

Tundra
March 26th 2023


9740 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah this was good ngl

Purpl3Spartan
March 26th 2023


8645 Comments


I refuse to believe that this is any good

Irikeheavymetal
March 26th 2023


152 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Fully expected a dumpster fire and got proven so wrong. Very impressive album.

Sowing
Moderator
March 26th 2023


43962 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Review is great as expected. Album is great as definitely not expected haha. I'm still in genuine shock at how much I'm enjoying this. I must've played it 7x since it dropped Friday. My favorites right off the bat are Love From The Other Side, Heartbreak Feels So Good, Fake Out, Heaven Iowa, and the t/t, but the ones that aren't my favorites are still very good. In fact, this is one of their most consistent albums. The highs aren't quite as high as the peaks from Cork Tree/Infinity/Folie, but they're close, and I'd argue there's less (see: zero) filler. I read the interview you referenced about this being the start of a new trilogy and now I'm even more hyped up. But for the time being, I'm just going to absorb this and try to grapple with the reality that FOB is contending for my favorite album of 2023 so far.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
March 26th 2023


2407 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The title track and ten years are so good

Mort.
March 26th 2023


25279 Comments


i am incredibly surprised by the positive reception this is getting. will have to check this out

MrHahaHihi
March 26th 2023


11 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Love Love from the Other Side

Sowing
Moderator
March 26th 2023


43962 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The mini callback to it on the closer is cool too.



Also it may just be me but this album feels pretty dark for Fall Out Boy.

Groundking
March 26th 2023


2292 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Heaven Iowa is fantastic



Atari
Staff Reviewer
March 26th 2023


27975 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Man it feels so good to actually enjoy a Fall Out Boy album again

Odal
Staff Reviewer
March 26th 2023


2100 Comments


My first listen was just okay, but I think that's in large part due to my mind not willing to accept that Fall Out Boy put out an honest-to-god GOOD album in the year of our lord 2023. Repeat listens have been very rewarding and make me wonder where the hell THIS band has been for the last ten years. Title track is instantly iconic

MoM
March 26th 2023


5994 Comments


Album’s growing faster than crabgrass



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