Fall Out Boy’s seventh LP comes with a tense back story that befits their emo roots: The band scrapped Mania last year at the last minute and built it again from scratch. But the album is less a reboot than a re-affirmation of their ability to fuse over-the-top oversharing and Queen-ly operatic stomp with an elastic vision of pop – swerving from EDM grind (“Young and Menace”) to bubblegum trap swing (“Hold Me Tight or Don’t”) to Police-style reggae glide (“Sunshine Riptide”), referencing drama queens from Tonya Harding to Britney Spears and kicking lyrics like “I’ll stop making black when they make a darker color.”
always, the ADD sound works best when it’s glossy and streamlined; “Champions”
might be a wan echo of their hit anthem “Centuries.” But on “The
Last of the Real Ones,” guitarist Joe Trohman and drummer Andy Hurley
unleash a feather-haired hard-rock charge as Patrick Stump sings
therapist-couch blather like “My head is stripped like a screw that’s
been tightened too many times/When I think of you,” with heroic gusto. It’s
more proof of why they’re masters at turning meltdowns into jock jams.