God dammit, they've only gone and done it again. In the best of the MANIA bunch, Fall Out Boy are at the top of their game.
Stripping away much of the vocal distortion and production razzle-dazzle of MANIA’s prior releases (‘Young and Menace,’ ‘Champion,’ ‘The Last of the Real Ones,’ and ‘HOLD ME TIGHT OR DON’T’), frontman Patrick Stump’s vocals are left on new song ‘Wilson (Expensive Mistakes)’, for the most part, to do what they do best. And god damn, they do it well. Always having been an asset to the group, Stump’s voice travels through its soulful roots, winding through to a steadfast pop-punk chorus, to a sweeping, triumphant falsetto and all the way back again. Paired with Wentz’s affinity for lyrical melodrama and poetic zingers, the delivery is confident and unflawed; the song’s refrain (“I’ll stop wearing black when they make a darker colour”) seems altogether fresh and sophisticated instead of sophomoric. Combining the pop-punk powerhouse of its chorus with the production value and summersaulting riffs of their established new sound, alongside a lyrical showcase that could easily fit snugly into 2008’s Folie a Deux, ‘Wilson’ is at the forefront of an already impressive slew of stadium-fillers.
Being a Fall Out Boy fan can sometimes feel like being a conspiracy nuthead, feverishly stringing together different connections together on a corkboard. Famed for their cryptic teasers, offbeat artistic endeavours (see: the Bloom project and the entirety of The Youngblood Chronicles), and on-stage easter-eggs, and with seventeen years of back-catalogue wonders behind them, keeping track can get a little exhausting. The video for ‘Wilson,’ a tongue-in-cheek parody of television shopping channels, is essentially a scavenger hunt for the legion of band references the group has amassed over the years, including Stump’s amputated hand from Save Rock and Roll’s ‘The Phoenix’, his jacket from the ‘Dance, Dance’ video, and even a deep-cut nod to From Under the Cork Tree with the promotion of “Champagne for my Real Friends, Real Shrimp for My Shrimp Friends.” Last week, at the band’s intimate Brixton show, bassist Pete Wentz reflected on wanting to do new album MANIA “for the fans that queue in tents and blankets overnight.” With ‘Wilson,’ Fall Out Boy could do little more to champion the mission. Not only is the video everything a FOB-fan could ask for, but dammit, the song itself is nothing if not worth the wait.
Fall Out Boy’s seventh studio album, MANIA, is out now via Island Records