Fall Out Boy’s new album is a reflection on the passage of time : NPR
Fall Out Boy’s new album, So much (for) stardust, is a throwback to some of the band’s familiar sounds and songwriting styles. Speaking to NPR’s Juana Summers, two band members detail the journey they’ve been on up to this point.
Who are they?
- Pete Wentz is the band’s bassist and lyricist.
- Patrick Stump is their singer and guitarist
What is the problem ?
- This is the first album the pop punk band has released in five years. The last, Maniawas full of sonic experimentation that some fans didn’t like.
- Wentz and Stump know how polarizing the album was. So much (for) stardust is a more recognizable sound. It’s also a display of the maturity and experience the band members have gained over the two decades of working together – and some of the absurdity that has prevailed.
What has changed over the years: The passage of time is a clear theme in this album. The song “Hold Me Like A Grudge” reflects aging and “The Pink Seashell (feat. Ethan Hawke)” uses a speech from the film reality hurts based on the idea that life has no meaning and that time passes.
- Wentz: “I feel like when I was in my 20s or even early 30s, life couldn’t go fast enough. Now, as a parent, I feel like everything is going so fast and you try to slow it down, and you just can’t get it to slow down… What’s interesting to me is that when I think about mortality and the existential unhappiness that I have the feeling like I don’t exist and the people I love and care about don’t exist anymore, it’s hard to go on, it can be a little paralyzing, you know? And I think there’s has part of this record that’s about giving in to this nihilism. And then the other part is like, you gotta burst because life is short and you’re gonna turn to dust at some point. But that means you gotta do everything, you must live.
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This video contains profanity.
Writing “the darkest song of the party” and the pandemic as a backdrop to the album: Press play on “What a Time To Be Alive” and you’ll get two seconds of an energetic drum intro followed by a disco beat. It’s a fun song, but the lyrics are much darker – “We’re here and we’re ready to broadcast the apocalypse live, I don’t care if it’s pretty, the view is so pretty, from the bridge of a sinking ship” – and it’s sometimes hard not to associate this and other songs on the album with the early years of the pandemic, especially the single reference to the “midlife blues”.
- Stump: “It’s funny to talk about it in the context of COVID because, except for this line, most of the song was completed before the pandemic… And when I started reading these lines, there was something about it where, ‘what a time to be alive’ had this double meaning; where I saw this line and it just inspired me. I was like, ‘Yeah, I want to do the kind of song that you play at a wedding and you don’t really pay attention to how absolutely dark it is. It’s just miserable. I wanted, like, the song by darkest party.”
What it was like to work without a single member: The day when So much (for) stardust was announced, guitarist Joe Trohman announcement that he would leave the band indefinitely, to take care of his sanity.
- Stump: “We miss him a lot. It’s very strange to come out and promote something that he was a full part of without him. I’m sure he would like to talk about the record right now. But I think he had in kind of, in a lot of ways, suffered privately. So when he came to see us, I think he was scared of letting us down or something. And I was like, ‘Man, we do it’s been together for 22 years, you know, we’re in your area. … We contact him regularly, and it’s weird because he’s always very present in all the conversations. He is on all the e-mails, he answers everything. He’s part of it, but he doesn’t. I can’t physically be there.”
Decades past and those to come:
- Wentz: “I feel really lucky. Like, none of this was supposed to happen this way, I don’t think, you know? Like, from us (Total live demand) like this sort of horrible, weird punk band. We were thrown into this vortex that I think is very easy to get chewed up and spit out. And I think a big thing that I’m proud of is that we came out the other side and survived it. As for the future I think the world is very open to artists doing things that feel authentic to them they would at least try so you could do something a little weird there’s a big field of possibilities. ”
- Stump: “I’m not a very nostalgic person. And I’m not really a glorious person. I’m not particularly interested in resting creatively, going out and being a company; and going out and play all the old hits.. well, let’s just book a tour, “I’m not interested. There’s nothing more exciting to me than when Pete sends me lyrics. When I open that email, that’s how the tour starts.”
Juana Summers and Christopher Intagliata contributed to this report.