Every Fall Out Boy Album, Ranked: Critic's Take

Pamela Littky
Fall Out Boy

When Fall Out Boy initially announced their seventh LP, M A N I A, last April, fans were thrown for a bit of a loop upon hearing the rackety, EDM-influenced initial single "Young And Menace." With a then-oddly spaced album title (first styled M A  N   I    A) and bright neon-colored cover, FOB seemed to be going in a new direction for their next project -- that is, until they scrapped almost the entire thing.  

M A N I A was initially set for a Sept. 15 release, with a fall tour to coincide. While the tour still happened, the album was pushed back to 2018, mainly because the guys simply weren't happy with what they'd created. "The album just isn’t ready, and it felt very rushed,” frontman Patrick Stump tweeted upon announcing the new Jan. 19 release date. “I’m never going to put a record out I genuinely don’t believe is as strong or valid as the one that came before it and in order to do that we need a little bit more time to properly and carefully record solid performances."    

The wait may have felt like an especially long one due to the circumstances, but Fall Out Boy fans have finally received their latest piece of FOB work. Although "Young And Menace" hinted that the next Fall Out Boy album may be quite a bit different than the six lovable albums they've put out over the years, from their 2003 debut Take This To Your Grave to 2015's American Beauty/American Psycho, the guys clearly did some w orthwhile re-working, as Stump insinuated.   

But where does M A N I A fall amongst the rest of the Fall Out Boy discography? Check out Billboard's ranking and see if you agree.

7. American Beauty/American Psycho (2015)

Honestly, it almost pains us to call this the “worst” Fall Out Boy album. Because, in reality, that doesn’t really exist. Although the last-place ranking may insinuate that it’s bad, that is not the way to describe the band’s most recent LP. It’s ambitious, as shown by the sampling on “Uma Thurman” and “Centuries,” while staying true to the carefree rock that Fall Out Boy has always been about. Other than the unnecessarily intense title track, it’s a quality album. But when pitted against FOB’s other releases, the lyrics of the verses/choruses and more mainstream rock sound just don’t measure up to what they put out in the beginning.

6. M A N I A (2018)

After kicking off their seventh album cycle with perhaps their most off-the-wall track to date, the almost headache-inducing calamity “Young and Menace,” the Fall Out Boy guys realized that the project they had crafted maybe wasn’t quite what they were hoping for their 2017 effort. So FOB decided to scrap the majority of the album and start over — and the results were so much more authentically Fall Out Boy than the initial go. More rock-focused tracks such as “The Last of the Real Ones” and “HOLD ME TIGHT OR DON’T” are reminiscent of the rough-around-the-edges guys FOB fans have grown to know and love, but with a more current twist that doesn’t sound quite as confused as the initial single. The group incorporates production more than they seemingly ever have — especially on tracks like “Champion” and “Church” — while still staying true to the cheeky rockers they’ve always been with lines like “I’ll stop wearing black when they make a darker color” (in "Wilson (Expensive Mistakes)”) and some totally random song titles (“Stay Frosty Royal Milk Tea” and “Bishops Knife Trick”). It’s not quite classic Fall Out Boy, but a pretty solid way to prove that they can still rock in 2018.

5. Folie a Deux (2008)

Like many FOB records, Folie a Deux begins in rather epic fashion with the oddly named track “Disloyal Order of Water Buffaloes.” After igniting the fire with the first song, they keep up that kind of gusto throughout the entire 13-song track list, with the heavily drum-based, anthemic “Coffee for Closers” and lively Brendon Urie-assisted “20 Dollar Nose Bleed” serving as monumental moments. This album seemed to incorporate more pop influence than the group's three preceding albums, which didn’t necessarily serve them wrong -- it just made longtime fans a little more weary of Folie a Deux, which in turn made the album (barely) not quite as likable as the ones that came before it.

4. Save Rock And Roll (2013)

If there is one way to tell the world “we’re back,” Fall Out Boy found the most bone-chilling way to do so with “My Songs Know What You Did In the Dark (Light ‘Em Up).” They hadn’t released any new music for nearly five years when they dropped the single, but the adrenaline-pumping song was just about the most epic way to welcome themselves back into the rock world. But that’s just one of the many tracks that proved that Fall Out Boy’s five-year hiatus didn’t have a negative impact on the kind of music they can create -- in fact, it basically had the opposite affect. Plus, the album includes perhaps the most iconic collaboration in their discography, teaming up with Elton John for the title track. When it comes down to it, the only thing really missing from Save Rock And Roll is the lengthy nonsense titles, which is perhaps the album’s only true downfall.

3. Infinity on High (2007)

With a debut and sophomore album that struck a chord the way that Take This To Your Grave and From Under the Cork Tree did, Fall Out Boy put themselves in quite the tough position when it came to putting out a quality third album. But rather than proving that they couldn’t measure up to their initial releases, the FOB guys established that they were here to stay in the rock realm, putting out a third record that utilized their masterful songwriting and rock influences while also incorporating the poppier sounds of the time. And if (for some reason) you don’t like the album as a whole, “Thnks fr th Mrmrs,” “This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race” and “Thriller” should be enough to convince you that it’s a pretty damn great third effort. 

2. Take This To Your Grave (2003)

Newer Fall Out Boy fans may not prefer the grungier, more garage band-like sound that the band had in their early days. To those fans who have been around since 2003, though, Take This To Your Grave is probably the FOB album held closest to their hearts. Not only is it home to classics “Grand Theft Autumn/Where Is Your Boy” and “Saturday,” but it introduced Fall Out Boy as a band who did what they wanted and said what they wanted with their music (for instance, the verse, “Let’s play this game called when you catch fire I wouldn’t piss to put you out”). Take This To Your Grave is one of those records that, even if the original fans aren’t into how FOB’s sound has evolved since, giving it a spin in 2017 brings them right back to ’03.

1. From Under the Cork Tree (2005)

Fall Out Boy's IDGAF mentality was perhaps most prevalent on this record, with lyrics like “I’ll keep singing this lie if you’ll keep believing it” and ridiculously long song titles that really don't make any sense at all (ahem, “I’ve Got A Dark Alley and a Bad Idea That Says You Should Shut Your Mouth”). It’s that kind of defiance that makes From Under the Cork Tree so memorable, along with the fact that every song is about as quintessential Fall Out Boy as you can get. The heavy guitar, occasional Pete Wentz screams, almost poetically written verses... every element makes it by far the most classic Fall Out Boy album to date. It was iconic from the second it was released in 2005, but 12 years later, the album is now one of the best servings of pop-punk nostalgia a fan of the genre will ever have.