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Fall Out Boy’s “Young And Menace” Reviewed

What the fuck? Words can’t even describe the confusion that follows the first listen of Fall Out Boy’s newest single “Young and Menace”. It’s a cluster-fuck of samples and electronic instrumentation, both of which are incredibly useful tools when executed in a proper fashion, but this is a hot mess.

The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve realized the power of the sample and the synthesizer. I think when used properly, a sample can make a decent emo or punk song even better because it adds fresh elements. I give credit to folks who sample too, it’s not any easy thing to chop up a vocal track or BPM match. Where Fall Out Boy went wrong was in the over-use of sampling.
In recent years we’ve heard the band stray away from their From Under The Cork Tree titles and their Take This To Your Grave angst. Like I said in reference to Paramore’s single “Hard Times”, experimentation is fine – just don’t fuck it up. Fall Out Boy are all over the place with this song. The subtle reference to Britney Spears, the super unpassionate lyricism from Pete Wentz, the ridiculous chorus that is just chopped samples of Patrick Stump, none of it works well. It’s as if Fall Out Boy had a couple separate ideas that they mashed together to try and make a song out of, the flow of it is super dissonant, the vibe is literally nonexistent. There is nothing that one can do with this song, it’s not a dance track, it’s not a mosh track, it just kind of is. If anything it’s a super lyrical and prolonged interlude that could maybe work as a transition track in a live setting, but I see literally no way for the band to perform this song without an obvious backing track for the chorus. Granted, they’ve been performing with a live sampler since the return, but it’s always so awkward when the samples are running and the band is “rocking out”. They look miserable in doing so and it’s because they’ve phased out their use of real guitars too much too quickly.

They deserve a little bit of credit for this track, it does feature some of the most audible guitars since the return, but even then, it isn’t until the second verse of the song. And honestly, for a moment they had a “What a Catch, Donnie” vibe going for this, but lost it immediately with the introduction of the unnecessary and irrelevant pre-chorus.
The production is compressed like fuck. It’s so squeezed together that it doesn’t move or breath at all. The vocals at time feel very dry and dissonant to the rest of the mix. In relation, the vocals feel under compressed to the tightness of the backing track. It’s clean and well polished, but there’s no grit to it, it sounds like every other pop producer out there right now. There’s nothing that sets them apart, long past are the days that Chris Lord-Alge would mix Fall Out Boy, but truthfully it helped set them apart in the beginning.

It’s understandable that at their age, Fall Out Boy doesn’t want to be playing Pop Punk anymore, it’s a phase that eventually everyone needs to grow out of. However, it’s becoming increasingly clear that their attempting to stay relevant with unpassionate song writing and lackadaisical arrangement. They’re pumping out singles like everyone else, and it’s great because constant consumption of media is necessary to remain relevant to the mainstream, but it’s making them sloppy with their songwriting. They aren’t thinking out these experimentations, they aren’t putting a few year’s worth of contemplation into these tracks. In all honesty, with this track – they’ve lost their charm.

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