Pop punk band Fall Out Boy has come a long way since its “Sugar We’re Going Down” days. Between a slew of chart-topping singles, an impressive collection of Teen Choice Awards, a four-year hiatus and a reputation for bringing alternative music to the mainstream, Fall Out Boy has been through a lot in its eventful career as a band — which spans nearly two decades (feel old yet?). F.O.B.’s seventh studio album, Mania, is set for a January 19 release date and has been garnering quite a bit of buzz. Here are a few things we can confirm about the delayed release date, genre-bending style and various rumors surrounding the highly anticipated album.
1. It’s finally finished. Mania was originally supposed to hit shelves in September 2017, but in August, frontman Patrick Stump tweeted an announcement that the album’s release date would be pushed back. Fans impatiently awaited more news about the record’s release. In response to the constant demands, the band made a website (ismaniadoneyet.com) to answer the question once and for all. For months, the site said “NO” in big white letters. As of November, the website has featured the word “YES” in all-caps and a cell phone-quality pic of the track list scribbled on a small sheet of paper. So, why the wait? No, the studio didn’t spontaneously combust and aliens didn’t steal the master tapes. Turns out the band felt that the album was too middle of the road to appeal to the masses and needed more time to fine-tune the final product.
2. Five singles have been released so far. And they’re doozies. For a band known for lengthy, irreverent and often outlandish song titles like “Reinventing the Wheel to Run Myself Over,” “I Slept With Someone in Fall Out Boy and All I Got Was This Stupid Song Written About Me” and “A Little Less Sixteen Candles, A Little More Touch Me,” titles like “Champion” and “Church” seem surprisingly tame. Beyond that, the band says the album is a stark departure from anything they’ve ever done before. The album’s first single, “Young and Menace,” is an EDM-tinged track that sounds more like Skrillex than Save Rock and Roll and the second single, “Champions,” is more pop than punk. High-octane hit “The Last of the Real Ones” and dancehall-infused “Hold Me Tight or Don’t” will also sound foreign to From Under The Cork Tree-era Fall Out Boy fans. The album’s fifth and final single and music video, “Wilson (Expensive Mistakes),” was released on January 12. Judging solely by the singles released, the album seems all over the place. It’s unclear if that’s intentional.
3. It’s not about nostalgia. When bands like Pierce The Veil and Circa Survive — who were also wildly popular in the emo scene of the early aughts — are now embarking on 10-year anniversary tours (feel old yet?), Fall Out Boy prides itself on being an active, evolving band, not just a nostalgic one. With six studio albums and countless tours under its belt, Fall Out Boy had a choice to make. Stay consistent and crank out the same melodramatic pop punk that side bang-clad scenesters moshed to in 2006 or transform with the upbeat, synth-heavy landscape of modern music? The final result was a hybrid of both: a new, experimental sound with Stump’s unmistakable tenor and the band’s signature non sequitur lyrics. Though maybe just slightly more radio-friendly than their older stuff, F.O.B.’s new material proves it’s still innovative enough to keep fans on their toes after 17 years as a band.
4. They already toured the album despite its delay. Last fall, Fall Out Boy embarked on a short U.S. tour in support of the unreleased album. They brought along experimental hip-hop acts blackbear and Jaden Smith, further proving their progression as a band. This year, the boys will tour Mania internationally. The first three European dates are already sold out.
5. The album is officially stylized as M A N I A. The band hasn’t given a public explanation as to why. We can only speculate that it’s for the same shock factor that led them to put a dubstep drop in their lead single.
6. Panic! At The Disco’s Brendan Urie is rumored to be part of the process. But what part remains unclear, and both parties are keeping pretty tight-lipped. Another fixture in the mainstream pop punk milieu of the early 2000s, Urie still tours and makes music under the Panic! At The Disco moniker. His latest cameo is in the video for “Young and Menace,” where he dons a purple llama suit and nonchalantly munches on a bowl of cereal. Is this a hint at Urie’s further involvement on the album or another curveball thrown by the out-of-the-box band? Tune in January 19 to find out.