REVIEW: So Much (For) Stardust


Matthew Heinsen

Fall Out Boy’s album “So Much for Stardust” can be listened to on Spotify.

Leading right into Spring Break, the American rock band Fall Out Boy released their eighth studio album So Much (For) Stardust. The album marks the band’s comeback after a five-year hiatus. It will not disappoint the hopes of old fans, but also garner the ears of new fans.

Kicking off with “Love From The Other Side,” the album hits the ground running with a contagious rhythm— you just want to start dancing! Starting off as a single, “Love From the Other Side” was released in December 2022. This single also served as a promotion for the song on a website of the same name hosting a claymation video that had the album release date and tour tickets. This track is also notable for its cinematic elements, since there is a parody of a Christmas story being told that involves the band.

“Heartbreak Feels So Good” is a more emotionally complex track, but has the melodies that fans will be listening for. The chorus leads with “We could cry a little, cry a lot/ Don’t stop dancing, don’t dare stop,” and resolves with “Heartbreak feels so good”. Arguably the least fitting music video, the visuals of the song follow the band fail a framed kidnapping and interrupt a parody money transfer and then head to a music stadium, while being chased in a humorous manner.

The third track “Hold Me Like a Grudge” kept my foot tapping to the rhythm at 118 beats per minute. The music video follows an exaggerated retelling of the band coming back together with background elements mentioning the time since their last album. A common theme of the last two music videos is being prepared for the “big show” with “Heartbreak Feels So Good” showing the band arriving a week early while “Hold Me Like a Grudge” shows Fall Out Boy performing.

While lacking cinematic elements, the middle tracks of “Fake Out,” “Heaven Iowa”, and “So Good Right Now” pad out the album making a sound reminiscent of Save Rock and Roll, Fall Out Boy’s fifth studio album. The similarities between the albums run deeper as both mark a return of the band, with Save Rock and Roll being after a four-year hiatus. Beyond these tracks, the album has also been compared to Fall Out Boy’s Folie à Deux due to both having guitar driven tracks.

The seventh track “The Pink Seashell” features Ethan Hawke in a one minute three second spoken word piece inspired from the movie Reality Bites. Hawke’s character in the movie, Troy Dyer, was given a pink seashell from his father who had cancer to send the message that nothing matters. In the track, a positive spin on the message is taken where listeners hear how Hawke now takes pleasure in the smaller things in life.

“I Am My Own Muse” fits in well with the opening track while “Baby Annihilation” has a similar run time and style to “The Pink Seashell”. The ninth track, “Flu Game” and the eleventh track, “The Kintsugi Kid (Ten Years)” also compliment each other by their guitar led sound and slower tempo when compared to the rest of the medley of the album.

“What a time To Be Alive” is one of the most danceable tracks in the album and has an upbeat tongue and cheek theme. The title track, “So Much (For) Stardust” starts with a violin solo setting the stage for the album’s grittiest track. The thirteenth track spells out the theme of duality that can be found in other tracks “Split me right down the middle, right, right down the middle”. The title track also includes the line “What would you trade the pain for? I’m not sure” which listeners will recognize as resolution to the same line in “Love From The Other Side.”

So Much (For) Stardust has received praise for maintaining a high level of quality and distinct identity despite the differences between songs. I resonated with Shannon Garner, a writer from Clash, characterizing that “[the band] achieved a sound that is rigorously maintained despite the wide array of influences track-to-track.”