Andy Greene, writing at Rolling Stone:
In August, the band returned to the studio with producer Illangelo – best known for his work with Lady Gaga, Drake and the Weeknd – and decided to start largely from scratch. An intensive songwriting boot camp at Stump’s Burbank, California, studio worked, yielding songs like the trap-infused “Hold Me Tight or Don’t” and the synth-y “Expensive Mistakes.” It helped that the deadline to deliver the album had been extended. “It was Thanksgiving, when the old guy unbuttons his belt and just exhales,” Stump says. “We were relaxed, and the rest of the record kind of wrote itself in a week.”
Stump acknowledges that even after all the work they put in, he won’t mind if the reworked Mania doesn’t connect with radio: “Do I need another hit in my life? I don’t really care. The only reason to put out a record is if it’s really great. And once you are past the radio-hit stage of your career, that becomes even more important.”
Spoiler alert: I think they’ve got another hit in them.
Honestly, it was mostly an attitude adjustment. Patrick and I realized we were making a record for neither of us. He thought I loved the songs and I thought he loved the songs. But when we actually talked about them, we realized neither of us loved them. I think Fall Out Boy is unmoored from who we were 10 years ago. We came from a scene and a place, but we’re not tethered to that scene or place anymore. The beauty of that is that we can put out any record right now. But the one record we couldn’t put out is a mediocre Fall Out Boy record. There’s just no point in that. So we just need to put some more work into the songs.
Annie Zalesk, writing for Stereogum:
And make no mistake: Since Fall Out Boy returned from a nearly four-year hiatus in 2013, they’ve adapted quite well to the modern music landscape. The band has six RIAA-certified platinum singles, with three of these (“My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light ‘Em Up),” “Centuries” and “Uma Thurman”) certified multi-platinum. Their two most recent albums (2013’s Save Rock And Roll and 2015’s American Beauty / American Psycho) are also certified platinum, and they play outdoor sheds and arenas, something few formed-post-2000 modern rock bands attempt these days.
I enjoyed this piece.
We’re done recording, officially! Which is pretty awesome. We’re just in the mixing stages now. Now, we’re just mixing and mastering the songs, which is really exciting. This didn’t seem like a place we could get to six months ago. It’s really cool to be here. We finished recording, maybe last week.
Not necessarily that we weren’t far along before – the songs just weren’t the right songs. We totally altered the course, which I think was important.
“I’d say we’re 60 or 70 per cent done with the record now,” he revealed.
I think we got ourselves into a strange situation where we put out “Young And Menace” and then we were like, ‘What’s the rest of the body of work?’.