There are alternate universes—better universes—in which Fall Out Boy’s new song “Young And Menace” doesn’t exist. In one universe, Patrick Stump, the band’s versatile and once-sideburned lead vocalist, is perfecting the chrome-plated R&B that he tinkered with on 2011’s saccharine but unfairly derided debut solo LP Soul Punk. Another universe has Fall Out Boy thrashing around in a studio with Ryan Adams, as they were on 2013’s PAX AM Days, honing the more straightforward melodic punk rock that inspired their early years. There’s a universe in which Jay Z’s hater-baiting intro to the summertime chug of “Thriller” is just a fun aside, not the genesis of Fall Out Boy’s lengthy and occasionally agonizing foray into hip-hop. In none of these universes does Fall Out Boy make the infuriatingly skimpy “Centuries.” In none of these universes does ESPN then play the damned thing out as a college football anthem.
But we do not live in an alternate universe; we live in this universe. And in this universe, with its often-cruel imperfections, Fall Out Boy premiered “Young And Menace” on Zane Lowe’s Beats 1 show this afternoon and announced that their seventh studio album, M A N I A, will be out September 15. “Young And Menace” sounds like a Steve Aoki remix of a Papa Roach parody, its clunky chorus chopped mercilessly into video game dubstep. Stump—a genuinely very good singer a lot of the time!—slips into sounding like Calvin Harris for a moment, and even Calvin Harris doesn’t want to sound like that. The chorus calls back to Britney Spears’s “Oops!… I Did It Again” with Stump singing, well, “Oops, I did it again.”
The video is an allegory for dischord and broken homes, combining mean-looking Where The Wild Things Are monsters with a neon-lit Fall Out Boy show and some futuristic communication breakdowns. You can watch that above.
On the bright side, Alex Robert Ross just re-listened to that Jay Z intro on “Thriller” and smiled. Follow him on Twitter.