CD Review: Fall Out Boy

Infinity on High

By Ashley Emert

This album review is brought to you by Honda, whose logo you can see all over Fall Out Boy’s MySpace page. OK, that’s a lie. It’s just interesting to me that a few years ago, the band was relatively unknown and now they’re sponsored by major corporations and adored by teens everywhere. I’m not here to review the band, though, just the music, right? Right. Moving on.

Here’s the thing with me: when it comes to ridiculously catchy bands such as Fall Out Boy, I hold out for as long as I can against them. I try and fight and claw my way against liking them, but they eventually infect my ears with their beguiling hooks and riffs and then it’s all over. Case in point, their newest release, Infinity on High.

When the album started with an introduction by Jay-Z, I was confused. Did I grab the wrong CD? I wondered. After I got over that (Jay-Z is the president of Island Def-Jam records, the label to which Fall Out Boy is signed), I was thoroughly impressed with the vocal range of lead singer Patrick Stump. I generally can’t understand a word he’s singing, but his vocals were understandable on the first track, “Thriller.” Turns out that once you get past his mumbled and incomprehensible delivery, he has a spectacular voice.

Although there were a few songs that I had to force myself to listen to (such as “Bang on the Doldrums,” which was too much of a pop-punk rallying cry for my ears to handle), I found that I thoroughly enjoyed some of the other tracks.

My favorite on the album is “I’m Like A Lawyer With The Way I’m Always Trying To Get You Off (Me & You).” The chorus is very simple and probably contrived, but I can’t help but love it. Also, the title is pretty amazing in that long-winded way that “indie” bands seem to love so much.

The band excels in the dance-able and infectiously fun song category, with several of the tracks making me want to start up a dance-break party (namely “Don’t You Know Who I Think I Am” and “The Take Over, The Break’s Over”). However, when they slow things down with the heavily piano-driven “Golden,” I sort of have to cringe. Especially when Stump sings, “And I saw God cry in the reflection of my enemies.” Oy vey. It’s all a bit too melodramatic. I’ll admit I actually laughed aloud when I heard that line.

It’s interesting because there are so many different influences on this album and you can basically pick them out individually. For instance, there’s a guitar riff during the last song, “I’ve Got All This Ringing In My Ears And None On My Fingers,” that is very reminiscent of Aerosmith. Also, “The (After) Life Of The Party” sounds like every song ever released in the ’90s combined.

Overall, it sounds like the band is following in My Chemical Romance’s footsteps with a very epic-sounding album (especially “Thnks Fr Th Mmrs,” which starts out sounding like the score to an action movie). Rather than just tossing together a few fun, poppy songs, the tracks are heavily produced with a lot of different instruments. It’s not a bad thing necessarily, it’s just that they seem to have come a long way from asking where your boy is tonight.

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