Sometimes it’s hard to remember Fall Out Boy as the band who recorded both “Sugar, We’re Goin Down” and “Centuries.” The latter 2014 single has become a monster, lumbering through commercials and incessant pop radio airplay for years now. In hindsight, the song’s embrace of the kind of mainstream-friendly alt arena rock that the dragons who lack imagination continue to play feels almost like the betrayal that diehard fans accused post “American Idiot” Green Day of committing.
That’s less to say that Fall Out Boy lost its way entirely in recent efforts, even in light of their last electro-pop infused album “MANIA.” Regardless, it’s reason enough to go into their surprise new single “Love From The Other Side” with just a hint of skepticism. It frankly hasn’t been clear if the punk-edge of hits like “Thnks fr th Mmrs” or “This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race” was still in the boys a decade and a half later.
Luckily, much like Green Day’s return to something resembling their roots in their most recent album, Fall Out Boy seems to have returned to a sound closer to the style that made them famous in the first place with the first song off of the upcoming March 24 release “So Much (For) Stardust.”
Well, at least most of the song gives off that nostalgic vibe. Despite a wholly unnecessary piano number that fills the song’s first 30 seconds, “Love From The Other Side” eventually cranks up the mid-2000’s energy as it launches into a muscular guitar riff and just enough of a hint of growl to lead singer Patrick Stump’s operatic vocals to remind you that this is once the band you listened to on that long-since-lost iPod Shuffle.
With an appropriately angsty chorus, “sending my love from the other side – of the apocalypse/and I just about snapped, don’t look back/Every lover’s got a little dagger in their hand,” the song nearly succeeds at turning back the clock entirely even if it never quite reaches the same zenith as their defining singles.
The song simply has trouble keeping the pop-punk energy through the rest of its remaining four minutes. Near the end, it risks devolving back into the kind of boring background radio release that the opening piano originally hints at before finishing with a flurry of guitar and strained vocals that make it clear that this is indeed at least a partial return to form for Fall Out Boy.
At this stage in their over two-decade career, that’s enough to warrant some excitement for what’s to possibly come from the band following their full album release, even if their immediate touring future is less clear in light of guitarist Joe Trohman’s announcement of a mental health hiatus from the band.
Let’s hope a complete, healthy and punk rocking Fall Out Boy is able to make it to the DFW area sometime in the future.
Spotlight Score: 7/10