The lead single from M A N I A takes Fall Out Boy in an unexpected direction as the pop punkers unveil a different pop/industrial/EDM sound, complete with a heavy dubstep breakdown on the chorus.
"We weren't planning on really writing new music at the time," bassist and lyricist Pete Wentz told NME of the track's origins. "It felt like we should do this thing together and tried to make a body of work around it. It's weird because once we said 'this is a song that feels like maybe it's not a direct-to-radio-song, but it feels like it could be culturally important' it freed us. Then it was like 'let's just make this song the best version of itself it could be'."
"There was a more extreme version of the song," Wentz continued. "We were like 'is that hard – is that easy?' For the last chorus it's pretty extreme, and there was a version that was pretty much all of that, and we needed to reign it in. Honestly, because we were like 'Wow, this is so chaotic'. It sounded like a 1990's modem. It didn't even sound like music. So we reigned it in from there."
Wentz's lyrics pay homage to a young Britney Spears by quoting her classic 2000 hit "Oops... I Did It Again
":Oops I, did it again, I forgot what I was losing my mind about
Oh, I only wrote this down to make you press rewind
And send a message that I was young and a menace.
"There's a lyric in the song, 'trying to send the world a message, I was young and a menace,' that reminded me of growing up in the suburbs of Chicago," Wentz explained. "I didn't look like anyone there or feel like anyone – I felt like an outsider in my own town. It wasn't until I discovered punk rock and that community that I realized I did fit in somewhere in this word – with the other people who didn't fit in."
Wentz noted the track is emblematic of true M A N I A. "It's hard to rationalize rage – it's hard to quantify anxiety," he said. "This song does neither, it embraces the wave."
The video features a runaway child in a fantasy land inhabited by llama-like creatures. Speaking of the clip, Wentz said: "The concept is the idea of a movie like Elf, where he realizes maybe he isn't an elf after all, but ours has less comedic elements and more real world implication. She realizes that maybe she is human after all – but maybe the line between us and monsters is blurrier than we think."
Pete Wentz explained the song's concept in a Genius
"There's an age where you're like a grown up. You have a grownup body, but you have a kid brain. Especially with guys. Where every other idea you have is probably a chaotic or bad idea. To me, the idea was like, you don't fit in anywhere, and then I found the punk rock and the hardcore scene, and it was like, 'Oh! This is where we all don't fit in!' And we're all these menaces or whatever. That's the original idea.
But I think that there's another one where it's like, you can age out of being a threat. You become a part of the institution. And there's sending the message to yourself like, 'Don't forget how you felt about this and don't forget where you come from. And that you still should be thinking that.' And I think that's what the whole song is. It's pretty chaotic."
Pete Wentz told ABC Radio the "Oops, I did it again" reference was an important part of the song. "It kind of to me always has felt like Britney has been a mirror for our culture itself," he explained. "We really treat her like we're looking in the mirror, we raise her up and break her down. And it all happens so publicly."
The song originally included a much larger reference to Britney and her personal struggles, but Fall Out Boy decided to take it out. "At some point it felt like maybe someone else's mental health is not super appropriate for us to be talking about," Wentz said. "So we kind of just pulled that all out, even though it was supposed to be a larger reference."
Pete Wentz expanded on the video's concept to Kerrang: "It was inspired by the movie Elf, when [Will Ferrell] wonders, 'What if I'm not a real Elf?' I remember asking my buddy, 'What's the dark version of that, where you live in a world of monsters and realize you're not the same as everybody else?' One of my big themes is not feeling like I fit in anywhere. Growing up I didn't feel like I fitted in within the suburbs, so there's a bit of that, too."
Fall Out Boy vocalist Patrick Stump told Kerrang regarding this song: "It's very difficult to play live, though it's doable and it's mostly live instruments. It's one of those ones where when I'm playing there's this array of guitar pedals, so there's almost no way for me to play and rock out. It's more like I sing, step on one pedal, and then sing, and then I have to step on another pedal, then again, and again. I basically have to just stay there pressing pedal!"
Fall Out Boy were sued on March 15, 2019 by the stuffed animal company that created the llama puppets for the video. In a complaint filed in Manhattan federal court, Furry Puppet Studio Inc. stated that the band did not have permission to use their creatures anywhere but in their video for "Young and Menace." However, the band overstayed their welcome and continued to use the llamas, in further visuals, television appearances and live shows. According to the complaint, the llamas had taken "a life of their own," and the lawsuit sought restitution and damages for copyright and intellectual property infringement.
Furry Puppet Studio was represented by Francis Malofiy. He's the same guy who represented the estate of Randy Wolfe in its lawsuit
that Led Zeppelin stole Spirit's song "Taurus" for the intro of "Stairway To Heaven
This was used on the MTV reality series Jersey Shore Family Vacation in the 2020 episode "The Speech Part 2."
The first verse references famed rocker Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue:And I lived so much life, lived so much life
I think that God is gonna have to kill me twice
Kill me twice like my name was Nikki Sixx
Like Wentz, Sixx is also the bassist and primary lyricist for his band. Wentz told Genius
readers the meaning behind the reference: "I think the inspiration behind that line is you get to do this one time and you gotta have the best journey that you can have. That's important to remember. To me, at least," he said. "Nikki Sixx started the whole thing, you know what I mean? We wouldn't have the haircuts and crazy jeans if it wasn't for Nikki Sixx."