Fall Out Boy can’t wait for you to hear the new directions they’re taking on their upcoming seventh studio album, M A N I A. But after initially announcing a Sept. 15 release date — which they recently put the brakes on, saying the album might not be out until 2018 — bassist Pete Wentz now tells Billboard that the new target date for release is Jan. 19.
“We’re a lot further along on it, but we pushed it back,” he says, noting that the group is about six songs into what will likely be a 10-song record. With the hard pop single “Champions” and the neck-snapping, EDM-ish “Young and Menace” offered as previews earlier this year, Wentz promised that the album won’t be as “sonically a left turn” as those two tracks, but that it’s “our job as artists to evolve.”
After forays into a more hip-hop-influenced sound on 2015’s American Beauty/American Psycho, thanks to production by J.R. Rotem (Gwen Stefani, Sean Kingston) and Canadian duo Young Wolf Hatchlings, Wentz says FOB is stretching its musical legs once again this time, while still keeping a foot firmly in the punk rock roots that first influenced the Chicago-bred group.
“The thing I point to now more than anything is we’re listening to a lot more music happening worldwide,” he says. “The thing I love about the globalization of music is I’m listening to beats that this kid in Lagos made… that would have never happened before.”
Among the artists FOB has logged studio time with is Calgary native Illangelo, a producer/songwriter and frequent The Weeknd collaborator who Wentz called “inspiring.”
In a recent Instagram post, singer Patrick Stump further explained the decision to hold off on releasing the album next month. “We had some long talks and a lot to weigh about it all and collectively thought that was best,” he wrote. Stump compared the reboot to the way Kanye West says, “Screw it, I’m gonna rewrite the whole record you already downloaded because I’m an artist and I can do crazy s–t like that.”
Except this isn’t that, Stump said, because the album simply isn’t ready yet. “It felt very rushed. 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.”
Wentz says it’s been interesting to see how a group of friends and musical collaborators can “approach the same craft from a completely different perspective. When you’ve been doing this for 15 years with the same guys it’s hard to find something fresh. Fresh ideas are hard and it’s really inspiring to be around kids who do have that.” Illangelo, 30, is one of those guys, as are some other musicians from Nigeria that Wentz, 38, says FOB plan to get in the studio with.
Asked what flavor of global music FOB is dipping into, Wentz mentioned “anything” by Nigerian singer and Drake “One Dance” collaborator WizKid, as well as another rising Nigerian star, Mr Eazi, best known for 2015’s “Skin Tight.” Wentz adds that the group is also hard at work on half of the songs with one of alt rock’s most beloved producers, Dave Sardy (Nine Inch Nails, Barkmarket).
“That’s what our band needs… a foot in the future and a foot in the past,” says Wentz. “To balance the record. What’s interesting with Fall Out Boy is we have guitar, drums and bass, but we’re finding ways to incorporate other ideas. What I liked about The Clash was how they used and twisted those influences.”
At press time Wentz says there are no guests to speak of the finished tracks, but the top of his wish list contains the same elusive name he’s been after for more than a decade: Rihanna.
FOB’s touring plans are still on target, with a fall tour slated to begin Sept. 16 with a sold-out show at the House of Blues in downtown Chicago. For now, the band has North American shows planned through mid-November, along with Australia and New Zealand shows for February in March.