This is Fall Out Boy's first truly great album, and it is a landmark in the evolution of punk-influenced pop music. Taking its title from a Van Gogh letter written at a moment of emotional ecstasy, one can't help but wonder if this is something like the statement the Ramones or Nirvana could have delivered absent the devastating impact of drug and alcohol addictions and with the wind of true support at their backs. Only a band with a tremendous sense of confidence can deliver words like this:
- "And I saw God cry in the reflection of my enemies
And all the lovers with no time for me"
Fall Out Boy Fans - You Know Who You Are
If you are part of Fall Out Boy's intended core audience, you likely know who you are. In case you've been hiding out over the past year and don't know, Pete Wentz spells it out for you in "This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race":
- "All the boys who the dance floor didn't love
And all the girls whose lips couldn't move fast enough"
You've been the target of great rock music in the past, but where Kurt Cobain and Robert Smith wanted you to crawl inside and share their pain and cynicism about the world, Fall Out Boy on Infinity on High want you to dance and sing and celebrate that the world belongs to you, too.
Commanding and Confident
On their multi-platinum breakthrough album From Under the Cork Tree, Fall Out Boy were happy to get the girl at the school dance, as in the video accompanying the smash hit "Dance, Dance." On Infinity on High the stakes are much higher. They want the world to celebrate the "car-crash hearts." It might seem a stretch to bring the Fall Out Boy dream to life, but with the sheer wit and drama of Pete Wentz's lyrics, commanding presence of Patrick Stump's voice, and assertive thwack of guitar and drums courtesy Joseph Trohman and Andrew Hurley, I wouldn't count them out.
Previously, it frequently seemed like Fall Out Boy, in a fit of self-consciousness, would bury many of Pete Wentz's lyrics in a furious assault of sound. Infinity on High puts the words front and center from Patrick Stump's sustained, throaty intro on "Thriller" to the refreshingly spare ballad "Golden." Fall Out Boy are confident and thrilled to be showing their audience what they can do.
Top Tracks on 'Infinity on High'
- This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race
- I'm Like a Lawyer With the Way I'm Always Trying to Get You Off
- I've Got All This Ringing In My Ears and None On My Fingers
A Victory for Those "People Said Couldn't Make It"
Label boss Jay-Z chimes in and kicks off Infinity on High stating "We dedicate this album to anybody people said couldn't make it." To understand what he's talking about, watch the music industry endorsed audition segments of American Idol and those who are given a ticket through to Hollywood. Fall Out Boy are the intellectual, geeky guys who know they don't have the looks or the mainstream singing talent to come anywhere near such an audition. However, with the support of adoring, concert-going teens, the independent label Fueled By Ramen, and, at last, a mainstream label shepherded by rap legend Jay-Z, they have made it...in a very big way, and, now, in following up their breakthrough, they didn't blow it.Instead, whether it's the Native American drum circle break in "Hum Hallelujah" or the pitch perfect power pop chorus of "I'm Like a Lawyer With the Way I'm Always Trying to Get You Off," Fall Out Boy pull you into the world of "car-crash hearts" in exhilarating fashion. It's a fun world - young adults who don't have to worry about an outmoded notion of popularity and, instead, feel free to quote Vincent Van Gogh with a straight face. They can sing about making it through "with hearts and wrists intact" without getting mired in self-pity. Fall Out Boy have come to bury cynicism and pain for their generation and encourage us all to join them in the experience of Infinity on High. Thanks, guys!