Fall Out Boy's newest single is catchy and high-energy, but a far cry from their previous triumphs
In the years since Chicago-bred band Fall Out Boy first sprang onto the music scene in 2001, their style has changed rather drastically: from the ‘softcore’ hardcore punk tunes of their early years, to the gospel rock enthused anthems of Save Rock and Roll, to the hybrid of electro-synth and pop-rock in Mania. Only eighteen months after the release of Mania, their new single ‘Dear Future Self (Hands Up)’ was released this past Tuesday.
Listening to it for the first time that morning, it was clear from the offset that this was a song for an audience to scream along to; it’s intense and catchy. The opening bars and lyric ‘hands up ready for the boom’ instantly makes one want to jump off their feet and follow said instructions, and the accompanying heavy drumbeats provided by drummer Andy Hurley clearly mark this song as one designed to be a crowd-pleaser. The song overall, however, isn’t hugely imaginative by Fall Out Boy’s standards, with a simple repetitive structure and simple lyrics; a far cry from the rhetoric and wordplay of the band’s previous work. However, there is arguably only so much you can fit into a 2:51 song.
The inclusion of acclaimed rapper Wyclef Jean on the track was unnecessary in my personal opinion, as his verse didn’t really fit the vibe of the rest of the song. Jean’s more chilled out rap flow just didn’t fit with the high-energy of ‘Dear Future Self’, with his verse midway through the song feeling kind of out of place. Fall Out Boy have been successful with their collaborations in the past, like with Big Sean’s appearance on 2013’s ‘The Mighty Fall’, but this time around it just didn’t work.
I’ve been a big fan of Fall Out Boy since the Infinity On High days, with said album still being my favourite ever. Saying that, I do enjoy the band’s newer more pop-enthused sound, but, and feel free to call me old-fashioned for this, I do miss a simple good ol’ guitar solo. With a talented guitarist like Joe Trohman in the band, I feel like this song was a missed opportunity for a brief return to the bands punk roots, especially since this single is preceding their upcoming second compilation album, Greatest Hits: Believers Never Die – Volume Two.
Despite its’s shortcomings, ‘Dear Future Self (Hands Up)’ is certainly an improvement, in my opinion, from the songs of Mania, and as a long-time fan of the band, makes me curious in regards as to what direction the band plans to go next with their music. With their joint Hellamegatour with Green Day and Weezer, and second compilation album on the horizon, it’s certainly an exciting time to be a Fall Out Boy fan.
Fall Out Boy’s ‘Dear Future Self (Hands Up)’ is out now via Island Records.