So Much (For) Stardust

I’ve never done an album review before. I’ve talked about a few albums on this blog before, but I don’t have a lot of musical knowledge. Half the time I like a track and go to find out music critics’ opinions on it only to find out that they think it’s a bad song. So if you’re looking for well argued critique on interesting indie music then you’re in the wrong place. If you just want to read someone’s opinion on a few music albums then perhaps stick around. Today we’re covering one of my favorites: Fall Out Boy. I’ve been a big fan of the whole pop punk (and adjacent) genre. Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance, Linkin Park, Paramore, Blink182, Panic!, Sum41, Greenday. I could go on and list many more artists but I’m hoping to cover a good few of them throughout the next few months. But let’s start this off by looking at the 2023 album So Much (For) Stardust.

Love from the other side & Heartbreak feels so good
When I first listened to the first song released I wasn’t too into it. Even now it’s not my favorite track on the album. Having said that, it’s a solid tune that starts off the album well. Heartbreak on the other hand is a bop. Again, it’s not my favorite song on the album, we’ll get to that one later, but I think it’s a very fun song and the music video – which has Rivers Cuomo guest starring – is also fun. It feels like Fall Out Boy. Pete is the charismatic leader and Patrick has always appeared a little bit goofy in interviews and stuff. That’s part of their charm, they’re not the traditional rock stars you see all the time, they sell the feeling of “we’re just some blokes having fun” really well. I’d like to think it’s just who they are.

Hold me like a Grudge
Continuing down the tracklist we get to the third song that has a music video as of now. The video for this one improves the song a lot. It’s the third one in a trilogy, follows up Dance Dance and This ain’t a scene with Pete having to get the gang back together. When the Mania album started disappearing I thought for a moment it was a joke because Mania wasn’t all that well received. It turns out that wasn’t it and now I look foolish. Going back to those old tracks is a blast, I highly recommend it. Check out the entire trilogy on Youtube.

Fake Out, Heaven Iowa, So Good Right Now
I think this is one of the more generic songs on the album, but damn is it pleasant on the ears. Patrick’s voice does a lot of heavy lifting on this song, he’s so talented. Very listenable, not very memorable if I’m honest.

I feel like this album is filled with references to aging and times changing, but this is the first song on the list where this feels very obvious. Would you read my eulogy? I think this song does the same things as Fake Out, but it does it better. It’s again a very good song, but since a lot of my favorites are towards the end I’m not going to spend too much time on it.
A change of pace and we go into an upbeat track here. Lyrically probably the least impressive song on the album, but musically very pleasant. I like the drum beat that’s present throughout this song. You could almost say that I’m Feelin’ so good right now.

Interlude: The Pink Seashell, I Am My Own Muse, Flu Game, Baby Annihilation
We’ve made it to the middle part of the album. We have two interludes in Pink Seashell and Baby Annihilation. I don’t care much for either if I’m honest. I mainly feel like they take me out of it when I’m listening to the entire album. I’d rather make a playlist and remove those two. I don’t mind that they’re there, creative expression is great, but it’s not for me. Either I need to listen to Flu Game more, or it’s just not a track for me. It sounds messy to me. I don’t know anything about music making, I just know what sounds pleasant to me. And this song is probably my least favorite full length song on the album. But the next song, I Am My Own Muse, is different.
In a track that’s more reminiscent of Mania than any of their other albums I find myself surprisingly entertained. The epic sounding orchestra really hits just the right notes and Patrick’s voice on this is fantastic. I wonder if the line “we’ve got to throw this year away” is talking about covid. Can you believe we’ve dropped every precaution by this point? It still feels weird and sometimes when I’m on my way to the train I panic and think I forgot my mask. Anyway, let’s move to the last three tracks because this album ends strong.

The Kintsugi Kid (Ten Years)
Now that I’ve listened to the album quite a bit I’ve identified my favorite song on it. This is the one. I know this is completely subjective, but the energy I feel from this song matches the energy I feel from the album cover. That makes no sense, I know, but that’s how I feel it. It’s a song that looks back on the past and wonders what happened. I reckon many successful artists go through the feelings Patrick sings about in this song. Ten years in a bitter chemical haze.

Something interesting to add, and I will talk about this in a future blog post because it’s a cool artform, is that Kintsugi is a Japanese pottery art. To be specific, it’s the art of fixing something that’s broken by filling the cracks with golden paint, making the end result something that got more beautiful because it was once broken. What a powerful message to send.

What A Time To Be Alive
I know I’m going to continue sounding crazy, but this song sounds like it could be on Bo Burnham’s Inside. I know, that’s a stretch, but it feels similarly crazy and deep. Maybe not as deep as some of Bo’s stuff, but livestreaming the apocalypse, serotonin, what a time to be alive? And the upbeat delivery of it all? I love this track. PROBLEMATIC! Sorry, I got excited, but I think that’s the Bo Burnham track that it reminds me of. But it’s a perfect wake-up call before we enter the final song on the album.

So Much (For) Stardust
I’m interpreting this song as Patrick struggling. His pains aren’t cool enough, he can’t fall asleep without the sound of crowds. What would you trade the pain for? I’m not sure. Ache it till you make it. I could go on, but I won’t. But I could. But I won’t. This song grows on me each time I listen to it. It’s not my favorite, but we established that already. I think the grandiosity (No way that’s a real word) of this song does make for the perfect closer. We even get a return of the line What would you trade the pain for, I’m not sure, which we also hear in Love From The Other Side. 

And that’s all for this album. I ordered a cassette version yesterday because I really like the cover, even though it’s not very original. It’s a dog biting at bubbles, who doesn’t like that imagery? I’m really enjoying this album, it’s definitely one of their better ones, although I’m not sure if it’s a top three album. Maybe it is. I’ll have to listen to it a bit more first. I’ll go do that, I suggest you do the same. Thanks for reading!

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