Fall Out Boy’s seventh album, M A N I A, is set to finally see the light of day on January 19. The album is the group’s first since 2015’s American Beauty/American Psycho, and was delayed by four months from its original September release date after the band decided some of the recordings just weren’t up to snuff. Here’s everything we know about it.
We’ve already heard four songs off it
The band released M A N I A’s first single, the EDM-influenced “Young and Menace,” last April when they announced the album. The track was a noted departure from Fall Out Boy’s core sound, but subsequent releases and interviews with bassist-lyricist Pete Wentz suggest the song is “the furthest left” and “wildest part of the album.” The second single, “Champion,” released in June, was a more straight-forward arena rocker and featured some of the band’s familiar underdog themes (“If I can live through this / I can do anything,” the song’s chorus goes). “The Last of the Real Ones,” the album’s third single, was released along with a trippy video in September. The album’s fourth single, the reggae-ish “Hold Me Tight or Don’t,” was released in November.
The album is “a reaction to the climate of people”
Wentz has called the album “a hard restart that clears the cache and erases the hard drive” and referred to the new sound of “Young and Menace” as a “big palette cleanse” that gave them “the space to create something brand new.” While the content is not explicitly political, when asked about the album’s “spirit,” Wentz told NME the album’s title is a literal representation of its mood:
I think the personal and the political are so intensely tied now. I think that like it starts out like a euphoric feeling and then it kinda tidal waves into people not sleeping, manic behavior, and violence. And I think that’s where we are, you know … I think it’s more like a reaction to the climate of people. We’re clearly in a populist era, right now …
But if M A N I A’s “aggressive” sound is informed by the present, Wentz says much of it’s lyrics are rooted in the past:
I think there’s a nostalgia to it. I remember thinking back to being a kid and feeling like a complete outsider in my own life. And then, discovering punk rock and realizing that it’s a community of people that feel like that and you come together. I think that some of the stuff we have is nostalgic and looking back at that and hoping that there’s communities for people like that.
The band pushed back the album back four months in order to retool it
M A N I A was originally set to be released on September 15, but in early August, vocalist-guitarist Patrick Stump announced on Twitter that the band had decided to delay it until January 19 because it wasn’t “ready, and it felt very rushed.”
“There were some songs that weren’t going to reach a wide enough demographic to be singles and at the same time they weren’t meaningful enough to us — they were too middle of the road,” Wentz later explained.
The band had finished recording by October and started the mixing and mastering process, and announced in November that M A N I A was officially completed. They also shared the final ten-song track list.
They toured in support of the album throughout the fall
A lack of an actual M A N I A release didn’t stop Fall Out Boy from touring in support of the album. The tour kicked off in Ohio on October 20, and featured supporting acts Blackbear and, curiously, Hollywood wunderkind Jaden Smith. Along with Silicon Valley’s Josh Brener, Smith also appeared in the video for “Champion” smashing a VR headset with a baseball bat.
The band is currently embarking on a global tour for the album (minus Blackbear and Smith).
There’s something weird going on with llamas
Each of the videos for M A N I A’s singles have featured two strange llama-like creatures—they took out Wentz mob–style in the video for “Last of the Real Ones”—who have also showed up on live tour dates. Based on the video’s closing credits, some have surmised it may in fact be Blackbear and Smith inhabiting the costumes. Wentz told Entertainment Weekly the creatures were created “as an homage to Henson Studios and that whole era of film where there was so much puppetry … Now they’re on tour with us—they’re a bit like the old guys from the Muppets. We’ve been calling them Frosty and Royal Tea, but I don’t actually know if that’s their names.”
“Stay Frosty Milk Tea” is the name of one of the songs on M A N I A.
The official stylization of the album’s title is “M A N I A.”
We don’t know why.