Erstwhile Fall Out Boy frontman’s solo EP made iTunes debut Tuesday.
Of course, that rejoicing was tempered some when it was subsequently announced that Stump had pushed back Soul Punk in favor of a six-song EP called Truant Wave. And on Tuesday, with little lead-up and absolutely zero promotion, that EP premiered on iTunes. It not only provided FOB fans a preview of where Stump is headed, musically, but also served as a point of division among their ranks. Some loved the electronic-leaning, R&B-teasing jams, while others, well, they were probably hoping Stump would return to his pop-punk roots.
When he spoke to MTV News on Thursday, Stump addressed both sides of the issue, because, quite frankly, he understands why some would be upset by his new direction. In fact, that’s part of the reason he put out Truant Wave in the first place: to soften the blow.
"I really want Soul Punk to have as much of a chance to have it be listened to discerningly,” he laughed. “And if I’m going to disappoint people by not [making] Take This to Your Grave, Part II, I would rather do that beforeSoul Punk, because that record means something to me.”
Of course, there were other reasons for rushing the EP out, most of which he learned the hard way during Fall Out Boy’s final days.
"Remember when Fall Out boy was putting out Folie à Deux and were going to put it out on Election Day, and then, for all these various reasons, all signs pointed to ‘Don’t do this’? That was sort of the case here. The logistics just weren’t lining up,” he explained. “And I had way too much material. … A lot of it didn’t make sense on the record, but it still felt like something, so I made a little mini-record out of them, and it sort of became a concept record for me. So for all those reasons and more, I decided, ‘Screw it, I’m going to put this out.’ “
So, yes, Soul Punk is still coming, but in the meantime, Stump hopes fans will take the time to digest the tunes he’s presenting on Truant Wave, a shiny menagerie of rubber-band funk, electro-pop and spacey, 23rd-century R&B that’s also, as Stump explained, a bit of a concept record too.
"It’s not as strict a concept album in that I don’t have a narrator or epic space battles or anything like that. It’s pretty bare-bones and it works as a pop record," he said. "Basically, I took this idealistic, naive little character, and at the beginning of the record, he has the best intentions, the highest hopes, and, as you get towards the middle of the record, he’s just such an a—hole. And then the character gets really dark, and then, at the end, I envisioned him being really down and out in Hollywood, like drunk and telling someone, ‘Look, kid, don’t make the same mistakes I did.’ … It has a narrative, but it’s not like I named the characters or know anything about these things."
So, for now, with his EP just out and a sold-out run of shows on the horizon, Stump is content to sit back and watch fans figure out his new direction. And, at the moment, he couldn’t be happier with the results.
"I told people about this record a week ago, two weeks ago, there was no promo, no press, nothing, so, for it to do as well as it has, it’s definitely gratifying," he said. "In the back of my head, there’s always this little voice that’s like, ‘Just don’t blow it,’ and so far, so good, you know?"