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While absent from “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” COVID-19 seeped into Fall Out Boy’s ‘So Much (for) Stardust’

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ABC/Randy Holmes

On Fall Out Boy‘s new cover of Billy Joel‘s “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” the band updates the lyrics with references to tons of pop culture and world events from the 34 years since the original hit was released in 1989. One thing the cover doesn’t mention, though, is the COVID-19 pandemic.

While it didn’t make the cut for “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” the pandemic did seep its way into Fall Out Boy’s new album, So Much (for) Stardust.

“I think (the pandemic) affected (So Much (for) Stardust) in the way that, you know, it affected everybody,” bassist Pete Wentz tells ABC Audio. “I think there’s all kinds of, like, trauma that no one, or a lot of us haven’t dealt with.”

On the brighter side, though, Wentz found that he “got pretty tight with my family” amid the pandemic, which also influenced the record.

“I think some relationships obviously grew stronger from it, as well,” he says.

On So Much (for) Stardust, you’ll hear lyrics about “quarantine blues,” masks and a declaration that “We got to throw this year away.” However, Wentz says he didn’t want the references to be “heavy-handed,” noting that, while some Stardust songs were written post-2020, some date back to before the pandemic.

“There’s a handful of things in there that sound like pandemic references that aren’t,” says vocalist Patrick Stump.

The song “What a Time to Be Alive,” for example, was written in 2019 about the feeling that “things are real nuts right now” and that it “can’t get a lot worse.”

“And then it did,” Stump laughs.

Fall Out Boy’s tour in support of So Much (for) Stardust continues Friday, July 7, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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