Album Review: Fall Out Boy – So Much (For) Stardust

GRAMMY Award-nominated rock band Fall Out Boy have released their newest record, So Much (For) Stardust today, March 24 via Fueled By Ramen/Elektra/DCD2 Records. The record is the band’s first release since their 2018 studio album M A N I A.

So Much (For) Stardust presents itself in a grand, cinematic way, kicking off with their melody-frenzied single, “Love From The Otherside.” The track shines a light on what the band has grown into over the years, while melding hints of nostalgia. Following swiftly behind “Love From The Other Side” comes “Heartbreak Feels So Good,” this track radiates a warm familiarity. Lyrics such as “We could cry a little/cry a lot/but don’t stop dancing/don’t dare stop,” binds an element of mature pain to the song’s danceable hooks.

As the record continues on, fans will find “Hold Me Like A Grudge.” The tracks grooves in with emphasis on an addictive bassline that ascends into a tongue-in-cheek pre-chorus then erupts into an alluring chorus that submerges listeners’ ears in a rock foundation. Next comes “Fake Out” which douse’s melodies in an aura of romance with a contrasting feeling of uncertainty. “Technology has made it really easy to make records much more quickly these days. There’s nothing wrong with that, and that spontaneity can be exciting,” says lead vocalist Patrick Stump about the record. “But we wanted to get back to the way we used to work. We wanted to make a record that was really lovingly crafted and deliberate and patiently guided – like someone cooked you a delicate meal. I’m not a very proud guy, but I’m pretty proud of this record.”

So Much (For) Stardust reflects past eras of the band while working with producer Neal Avron (Infinity On High, From Under The Cork Tree, Folie à Deux.) “Neal not only taught us how to make records, but has a unique capacity to really take time and focus on a record. We thought it was a no-brainer to work with him again, on a record where that was very important to us, and he was gracious enough to agree to work with us.” Says Stump about working with Avron. 

Tracks such as “Heaven, Iowa” introduces itself subtly and eventually comes crashing in with violet passion within Stump’s vocals laying boldly alongside waves of thematic sounds. The band isolates lines like “I’m checking myself out/forever” and “here we are untouched/forever” highlighting an impression of fury. The record is lined with dialogue, “The Pink Seashell” voiced by Ethan Hawke containing lines from the film Reality Bites and “Baby Annihilation” showcasing bassist Pete Wentz’s voice, adding a story-telling layer to the record. “Our band has been an ongoing art project for twenty years and we know there have been many inception points along that journey,” says Wentz about the record. “We wanted to create an album that merged those points together – something new, but carved from our foundation. Fueled By Ramen and Elektra seemed like the perfect home for this.”

Farther down the record fans will find “I Am My Own Muse ” the song comes dressed in string instruments and big-band music making for a dramatic entrance. As the track slams in it grips listeners by their skin, taking the air out of the room with how grand and powerful the dynamics in “I Am My Own Muse” are. The record takes a cosmic route with “The Kintsugi Kid (Ten Years)” lyrics are draped in relatability and delivered with care. Words like “I spent ten years/in a bit of a chemical haze/and I miss the way that I felt nothing,” are laced together feeling comforting in a bitter way.

The album ends with title track “So Much (For) Stardust” incorporating strings alongside a darkened piano melody. Vocals convey smooth transitions and hypnotic layers, while tying itself back to the album’s intro with the line “What would you trade the pain for?/I’m not sure” making the record feel complete.

So Much (For) Stardust is a sensational album, wrapping all aspects that fans, old and new, love about Fall Out Boy, while still stepping outside of the box to create something unique.

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