Fall Out Boy’s ‘So Much (For) Stardust’ returns to classic, yet fresh sound


Shavonne Chin

Illustration by

Ashley Pelletier, Podcast Host

The last time Fall Out Boy dropped an album, I was a bottle-blonde junior in high school. Just like me, the band has grown a lot since.

After the band returned from hiatus in 2013 with its fifth album, “Save Rock and Roll,” Fall Out Boy has leaned more towards the pop in the pop-punk genre. Radio earworms like “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark,” “Centuries” and “Uma Thurman” and the elephant-in-the-room album that is “MANIA” told fans that the Fall Out Boy of the early 2000s was gone. However, once the first track of “So Much (For) Stardust,” “Love From the Other Side” dropped in January, I knew the Fall Out Boy so many emo kids jammed out to in the 2000s was back.

As with any Fall Out Boy album, members Pete Wentz and Patrick Stump have infused “So Much (For) Stardust” with punchy, relatable lyrics that belong on a Hot Topic T-shirt like “I’ll never go, I just want to be invited,” “Part-time soulmate, full-time problem” and “I can’t stop, can’t stop ‘til we catch all your ears though / Somewhere between Mike Tyson and Van Gogh.” After reading and listening to these lyrics, I can safely say that Fall Out Boy has earned my ears.

The album features two spoken-word interludes. “The Pink Seashell” is a monologue from Ethan Hawke’s character in the 1994 movie “Reality Bites.” Hawke’s character talks about his father’s death from cancer and how it showed him there was no meaning to life and inspired him to enjoy the little things. When I first read that Hawke was featured on “So Much (For) Stardust,” I was really excited, as his wife, Thurman, has obviously been name-dropped by the band before. Who knows, maybe we’ll get Maya Hawke in a future album.

“Baby Annihilation” is spoken by Wentz and is a commentary on the false mask we present to the world and how it influences our relationship with others. Fall Out Boy has used spoken word in some of their previous albums, but these two interludes add a touch more self-reflection to the album, particularly in a world where COVID-19 and social media overload makes us question our lives and values.

As one line in “Heartbreak Feels So Good” says, “Don’t stop dancing, don’t dare stop.” Believe me, I won’t. I can already picture crowds dancing, jumping around and bopping their heads to several songs on the album, particularly “So Good Right Now,” “Flu Game” and “I Am My Own Muse.” If you have tickets to So Much For (Tour) Dust this summer, you definitely won’t be disappointed.

“So Much (For) Stardust” is the quintessential Fall Out Boy album, from Wentz’ basslines in “Hold Me Like a Grudge” — the follow-up to “This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race,” to Andy Hurley’s linchpin percussion, to Joe Trohman’s criminally underrated guitar skills. However, Stump, even being the face of the album as lead vocalist, shines in this album.

What really makes “So Much (For) Stardust” unique is Stump’s experimentation with strings, brass and piano. “Love From the Other Side” opens with an almost-full-minute-long intro that infuses classical music with the band’s typical sound, showing listeners that while the album feels like coming home for so many fans, “So Much (For) Stardust” still stands on its own as a work of art in its own right.

I’m not sure where “So Much (For) Stardust” stands in my rankings of Fall Out Boy’s albums yet, but I know it’s up there. “Save Rock and Roll” and “American Beauty/American Psycho” remain so high in my rankings in part because of nostalgia, but “So Much (For) Stardust” is more consistent in quality and replayability. Regardless, both pre- and post-hiatus Fall Out Boy fans will find something to fall in love with on the album.