Tuesday, July 25th, 2017

Fall Out Boy – Champion

You’re about five points short of that, dudes…


Katie Gill: What a shock, Fall Out Boy gives us another preening pump-up egotistical training montage swaggering rock number. We’ve heard this song at LEAST three times from them before. It’s getting old.

Micha Cavaseno: Still the most rancid sort of ego-stroking disguised as being meant for the masses. The further this band become an irrelevant series of repetitive gong clashes of psuedo-importance, the more they become nothing but pure distraction.

Ryo Miyauchi: Fall Out Boy’s jock jams always had a touch of ridiculousness that kept my attention: “I’m gonna change you like a remix” in “The Phoenix”; the desperation in “Centuries”; the I’m on fi-yaaah! in “My Song Knows What You Did in the Dark (Light ‘Em Up).” The gassed-up swagger in this, though, runs generic like a pump-up tune behind the latest athletics ad. Worse, I almost expect a rap verse from a C-lister to cap it all off when really Patrick Stump and gang’s memorable rap guests were always the unexpected ones.

Alfred Soto: If Fall Out Boy needed a cheap contract fulfillment for the end credits of a Marvel film, they should’ve covered, I don’t know, Genesis’ “Tonight, Tonight, Tonight” or something.

Eleanor Graham: A slice of Sia generica with blank sheets of guitar and a flatline ‘chorus’ that literally no one has the charisma to resuscitate, least of all this dude whose name I can’t remember because I never had an emo phase. At a party last autumn my friend put on “Miss Missing You” and the yearning 80s synths and whiny guitars and hyperreal suburbia and big, trashy, dangerously satisfying rhymes are still burning their way through my brain. “Champion” is the reason misandrous pop elitists like me don’t believe bands like this can make them feel like that.

Alex Clifton: This song has Sia’s fingerprints all over it, which is maybe not the best thing. Like them or not, Fall Out Boy’s strength has always come from the fact that their music sounds like them (or, more specifically, like Pete Wentz and Patrick Stump). It starts off strong, but becomes repetitive. “If I can live through this / I can do anything” is a fine rallying cry, but there’s not really enough content in the rest of the song to prop that chorus up. It’s also a strangely muted FOB track; for a track from an album called MANIA, I’d expect something more electrifying. There’s energy here, of course–Stump wails throughout–but somehow I expected more from these guys.

Austin Brown: After two albums of promises to save rock and roll that seemed to feel the best way to do so was lean clumsily into hi-fi Big Pop tropes, suddenly they rein it in and make their best song in years. The theater kid vocals and loud drums that characterize nü-Fall Out Boy are still there, but deployed with purpose and a tautness that’s direct and undeniably affecting. Martial rhythms only go so far, and I can’t help but miss the hyperactivity that used to invigorate Fall Out Boy’s compositions from below. But when it all leads up to a vocal run like Patrick Stump’s in the final chorus, I’m willing for the first time ever to set aside my nostalgia and entertain the idea Fall Out Boy might actually have something new to say in the 2017.

Hannah Jocelyn: “Centuries” on a shoestring, the grandiosity and eccentricity (“Tom’s Diner”, “Lux Aeterna.” and “I-i-am-the-opp-o-site-of-am-ne-si-uhhh”) replaced with “if I can live through this/I can do anything” and some perfunctorily thundering drums. “A Couple of Months”, maybe.

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