In the punk scene alone, the collected amount of shit that has been talked about Fall Out Boy could probably fill the Atlantic OceanÃ¢â¬Â¦twice. I am certainly, without question or hesitation, as guilty of it as anyone else, but I'm willing to admit it when I like music by a band I have previously criticized. And so it is with baited breath that I confess that I undoubtedly enjoy Infinity on High.
Now that every single one of my scene points has been revoked, I'll explain why. Fall Out Boy's spotty-at-best songwriting that has plagued their previous records has practically vanished, as the fourteen songs on this disc all show a significant jump in quality. Gone are the horrific songs filled with infuriating hooks that are drilled into your brain upon the moment you hear them, as the songwriting doesn't rely upon putting the listener at the mercy of a painfully simple jingle that might cause them to seek a lobotomy.
What it does do is create some fantastic pop songs that are easily a step above anything else Fall Out Boy has written. Songs like "The Take Over, The Break's Over," "Hum Hallelujah," and "Thnks Fr Th Mmrs" are so enjoyable that if they were candy, my teeth would have fallen out of my head by now thanks to overeating. The varied approach the band has taken with writing each song is a certainly a breath of fresh air due to how creative and layered they are, which is something I never thought I'd say about a Fall Out Boy record. Yet the songs indeed have subtleties that prove to be effective in every case by giving the songs an even richer, fuller sound.
The additional instrumentation employed ranges from the slight electronic edge in the first half of the first single, "This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race", to full-blown songs driven by piano and backed up with brass instruments in "Golden" and "I've Got This Ringing in My Ears and None on My Fingers." Though it may sound as if the record would be a mess with the extra instruments coming and going, it all feels natural in the context of the album itself and therefore succeeds.
That's not to say the album doesn't have any worthless songs, because it certainly does. The piano-heavy track "Golden" is the slowest on the album and is incredibly boring, especially when compared to the rest of the songs, which are all fast and catchy. The pace of the song and Patrick Stump's vocals assure that most people will skip it. "This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race" has Fall Out Boy doing their best impression of the Backstreet Boys during the first half of the song, and it is as stupid as it sounds. The cheesy chorus of "I'm Like a Lawyer With the Way I'm Always Trying to Get You Off (Me and You)" is hard to stomach after the first couple of listens, and the guest screams/yells towards the end of "The Carpal Tunnel of Love" are not only unnecessary, but generic, lame, and trite and effectively make an otherwise good song less enjoyable.
The lyrics are also pretty much typical Fall Out Boy fare. Nothing special, but not awful, they serve their purpose but aren't deep in any way. In most cases, they go for an angle that's more a clever and playful way of arranging words than a genuine emotional song because this is a fun record, and anyone looking for deep lyrics is certainly in the wrong place.
With this album, punk's favorite whipping boys have twisted the arm of the collective scene that has been giving them lashes by proving that they have the ability to write something that is, in my mind, worthwhile. Regardless of previous conceptions you may have about Fall Out Boy, give Infinity on High a listen, because it may surprise you more than you expect it to.
8.2 / 10
Selling out. Trying something new. Maturing. Call it what you will, but a substantial number of underground artists have become fairly well-known after changing up the musical scene they are ...
Yo, this CD title sucks. It doesn't even really make sense. Also, fuck the packaging. It's not the average size of a jewel case, so it won't fit on my ...
Posted March 24, 2004, 3:10 p.m.
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