'The personal and the political are so intensely tied right now'
Fall Out Boy‘s Pete Wentz has revealed that their new single ‘Young And Menace’ is the ‘wildest’ part of the new album – marrying the ‘personal and the political’.
Yesterday saw the band surprise fans with their ambitious new single to launch seventh album ‘M A N I A‘. With a touch of dubstep, ‘Young And Menace’ moves away from the punkier, rock n’ roll sound of their past, and head down a uprising, industrial EDM and electronic sound.
“We weren’t planning on really writing new music at the time,” Wentz told NME of the track’s origins. “It felt like we should do this thing together and tried to make a body of work around it. It’s weird because once we said ‘this is a song that feels like maybe it’s not a direct-to-radio-song, but it feels like it could be culturally important’ it freed us. Then it was like ‘let’s just make this song the best version of itself it could be’.”
He continued: “There was a more extreme version of the song. We were like ‘is that hard – is that easy?’ For the last chorus it’s pretty extreme, and there was a version that was pretty much all of that, and we needed to reign it in. Honestly, because we were like ‘Wow, this is so chaotic’. It sounded like a 1990’s modem. It didn’t even sound like music. So we reigned it in from there.”
Read more of our interview with Wentz discussing their ‘political’ new album ‘M A N I A’ below
You guys have changed direction so many times. Were you afraid of alienating some fans, or are you confident that they’ll just jump on board and accept that this is where you guys are headed now?
“We definitely think about how we have this really loyal base of kids, but I think about it more in terms of how I think about The Clash. I mean, at the time The Clash did so many departures and I was like ‘what the fuck? I just want this punk band’. But now, in retrospect I don’t think that I would’ve liked The Clash as much if they hadn’t made the change. It’s like with Bowie and, all these artists that I’ve loved – they changed depending on the era. I think maybe in the moment it’s harder to swallow, but even when I look at an artist with Kanye, I mean, could he have kept doing the soul samples with rap? Yeah, he could’ve. But I think he’s more dynamic and interesting as an artist because he shows that he can transform.”
How representative would you say ‘Young And Menace’ is of the rest of the album?
“Well, the album is not finished. We’re about halfway done. But songs like ‘Young And Menace’ are the furthest left, like you know – the wildest part of the album. The song will make sense on the album and the album is like – we’ve updated the software since the last album, so I think the album will sound different to people.”
Every Fall Out Boy album kinda has a character to it. ‘American Beauty/American Psycho’ had that ‘leather jacket on, pop your collar’ vibe. How would you describe the spirit and the mood of this record?
“I think that it is mania. I was watching this show, Legion. People are always asking us to respond on what’s going on in the world and in America, and we’ve never been one of those bands that shoved our views down people’s throats, but I think everyone kinda knows our political views. 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 behaviour, and violence. And I think that’s where we are, you know.”
So you say it’s not overtly political, just sort of a personal reaction to Trump’s America without name checking it?
“Yeah, but I think it’s more like a reaction to the climate of people. We’re clearly in a populist era, right now, but it’s interesting because we have more access to getting people’s attention, with the internet and everything. It’s really strange to watch. You could react two ways: you can pander to it and give people something that’s slick and perfect and what they’d expect, or you can do something that’s a left turn. As long as it’s authentic and interesting. Like Lorde, with ‘Green Light’. That song is weird, to me, but it’s definitely her and I like it. That’ the feel that ‘M A N I A’ has.
So lyrically, what’s inspired the album?
“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 realising 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. I think that a lot of lyrics speak to that, but then there’s a lot of personal stuff too, but in general I think that’s what it speaks to.”
Fall Out Boy will release their seventh album ‘M A N I A’ on September 15.