Fall Out Boy Credit: Pamela Littky

In December 2017, months before BTS became the first K-Pop band to hit number one on the Billboard 200, BTS member RM collaborated with Fall Out Boy on a remix of their single “Champion” for the seventh album by the suburban Chicago natives, January’s Mania (Island/DCD2). For FoB, the track was the latest in a long history of reaching across cultural gaps to collaborate with artists that would otherwise never work with a once-scrappy pop-punk group weaned on shows at the Fireside Bowl. Following a hiatus from 2010 until 2012, the band put out a trio of albums (2013’s Save Rock and Roll and 2015’s American Beauty/American Psycho precede Mania) that sometimes feel like a flex from one of the last bands of their era still standing—they’re certainly the only one in their scene currently big enough to headline Wrigley Field, which they’ll do tonight. Hell, the world didn’t need an album-length remix of American Beauty featuring Migos, Asap Ferg, Juicy J, and Azealia Banks, but in October 2015 it got one anyway in the form of Make America Psycho Again—the fact that the album exists at all is a totem of FoB’s power. There’s not much of a road map for what a popular pop-punk band can do at the stage in its career that FoB find themselves at now besides go classic rock (Green Day) or Vegas (Blink-182), but to be fair, the bulk of the band’s posthiatus music doesn’t register as pop-punk in the slightest anyway. So we get the ambitious mess of Mania: “Wilson (Expensive Mistakes)” riffs on M.I.A.’s greatest hit, “Young and Menace” references ­Britney Spears, and “The Last of the Real Ones” rolls poppy neosoul into massive EDM breaks. FoB could play it safe—and do with the brand-new EP Lake Effect Kid (Island/DCD2), a cheap emotional ploy for locals’ hearts. But as uniquely offensive as Mania can get, it sounds like nothing else out there, and I can’t blame FoB for swinging for the fences.   v