Music Review - May 2023

by BTM

Sun, 07 May 2023

Music Review - May 2023

So Much (For) Stardust

What’s the story? 
So Much (For) Stardust is the eighth studio album by American rock band Fall Out Boy and marks the band’s return to their original record label Fueled By Ramen. Vocalist Patrick Stump discussed the album’s creation: “Technology has made it really easy to make records much more quickly these days. There’s nothing wrong with that, and that spontaneity can be exciting... But we wanted to get back to the way we used to work. We wanted to make a record that was really lovingly crafted and deliberate and patiently guided – like someone cooked you a delicate meal.”

Worth a listen? 
Fall Out Boy fully re-embrace the emo and punk-pop dynamism of their classic work. Without ever sounding too much like a throwback, So Much (For) Stardust has a homecoming feeling, as if Fall Out Boy are getting back to their rock roots. From the start, there’s a balance of measured craftsmanship and big melodic hooks, all effusively delivered by Stump. It’s an infectious combination the band perfect on the opening ‘Love from the Other Side,’ a song ostensibly about dealing with (and perhaps being the cause of) a bad breakup. The rest of the record rarely lets up from there.

Live At Wembley

Live at Wembley captures The Who’s return to England’s iconic stadium on July 6, 2019. It was their first time playing the venue in 40 years and they employed a full orchestra to celebrate the occasion. The Who integrate the orchestra quite seamlessly throughout the performances, especially during an extended segment focused on Quadrophenia material; the ensemble helps Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey summon a bit of the old Who’s flair for bombast. Even so, the moments on the record that cut the deepest are when the band plays without the orchestra. ‘Substitute’ and ‘The Seeker’ sound vigorous delivered by a straight rock combo, while Townshend and Daltrey’s acoustic renditions of ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ and ‘Behind Blue Eyes’ help make these old warhorses sound relatively fresh. 

Memento Mori    

Death and loss loom large over the mournful Memento Mori, Depeche Mode’s 15th album and first without founding member Andy Fletcher. The sombre set takes on even more gravity and significance after his death. Understandably subdued and emotionally heavy, this is the sound of two old friends reeling from tragedy while keeping an eye on the days that remain. Memento Mori is the band’s most solid effort in decades, as tragedy is transformed into something profound, leaving heartfelt, thoughtful and moving statements. 

The Record

What’s remarkable about The Record is how three idiosyncratic songwriters consciously decide to subsume their quirks within a group voice. Individual traits haven’t been erased so much as they’ve been sanded so they can fit neatly together. The unified front gives The Record shape and heft, qualities apparent from its twin openers: ‘Without You Without Them’ highlights their spectral harmonies, while ‘$20’ drives home an offset riff that’s quintessentially 1990s.