1001 Albums You Must Die Before You Hear: Fallout Boy’s Mania


1001 Albums You Must Die Before You Hear

#93: Fallout Boy – Mania (2018)

MATT KELLY once had a bit of a thing for Fallout Boy, but no more, savaging their Mania album for being the dog it is. Woof.

TLDR: If you would like to hear a Busted album produced by David Guetta, do not purchase this album. Instead, please turn yourself over to the authorities.

As I pursue my habit of trawling chronologically through discographies, I notice an odd phenomenon where bands counter-intuitively become worse at something the more they do it. FOB’s reinvention as a teen-oriented pop act may have been bold and daring in 2013 but by 2018 the novelty is gone, the tropes that hits like ‘Centuries’ rode to success are played out, and it’s time to step up to the next rung on the ladder of pop evolution if FOB wants to stay relevant.


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Well, they tried to. What they actually did is go down a trend-chasing rabbit hole and produce what is possibly The. Worst. Chorus. I have ever heard on a major label mainstream song and make it THE LEAD FUCKING SINGLE. Ladies and gentleman, I present to you ‘Young And Menace’, a show-stopping sinkhole of a song so bad that it just about takes the entire album down with it.

Go and listen to it right now. Skip to 1:00 if you want to hear the “hook” which is only a hook in that it feels like someone pushing the business end of a fish hook into my ear canal. Did you hear it yet? Good, because I’ll tell you something. You didn’t like it. How do I know? Because no one fucking liked it.

An instant punchline of a song that blew up in FOB’S face and seriously damaged their credibility, ‘Young And Menace’ did not chart at all, unthinkable for a lead Fallout Boy single, and was named by numerous critics as among the worst songs of 2018.

A subdued, catchiness-free verse noodles about with references to Nikki Six and Britney Spears for some reason before a hellish chorus of chipmunk-voiced Patrick Stump’s take you through the wormhole into the abyss, warbling and shrieking without discernible melodic or rhythmic intent for what seems like ten minutes, the vocal FX like a child testing out every setting on their phone app voice changer.

I gather FOB heard about hyper pop and thought they’d blow the kids’ minds by incorporating it but they clearly have no fucking idea what they’re doing. There’s no rhyme or reason to the chorus and it’s so long and *ugly*. Rarely have I seen a band shit its pants with such loud, proud ferocity as FOB does on this track.

Elsewhere. you get to hear lyrics such as, “When your stitches come loose, I wanna sleep on every piece of fuzz and stuffing that comes out of you” on Maroon 5 b-side ‘Hold Me Tight Or Don’t’, and when the *good* tracks sound like Maroon 5 b-sides you know you’re in trouble.

But it isn’t fair to say the whole album sounds like Maroon 5 leftovers – for instance, Wilson sounds like Imagine Dragons leftovers. You may wonder if Joe Trohman is even in the band anymore as FOB go full electropop with insipid songs that shamelessly impersonate younger, hotter acts and have no identity outside of hoping they do numbers with the right demographics. I’ve seen clouds with more substance.

The lifeless tropical hip-hop pastiche of ‘Sunshine Riptide’ is a particular shocker with a *dreadful* guest verse from Burna Boy where “Feel like I’m bulletproof” is clearly enunciated as “Feel like I’m poopoo.”

The album exposed Fallout Boy as creepy old men hanging out on the playground of pop trying to tempt new listeners over with this bag of suspect sweeties. Mania? Delusion would have been more accurate.


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Matthew Kelly is the most important person in the music industry – the type of obsessive nerd without whom it would have no reason to produce box sets and nine-hour long documentaries.

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