After Fall Out Boy smashed into the mainstream with their wildly successful sophomore album, From Under The Cork Tree, many wondered what the band was going to do next. Would they keep up that momentum? Would they continue to churn out hit after hit? Would they peter out? Ten years ago this month we received an answer to these with Infinity On High. While the album went platinum merely a month after its initial release, many felt that the album was a huge departure from the band’s signature sound and that it alienated FOB’s core fan base. To this day, a great deal of fans don’t know how to feel about this album so I figured I’d share my feelings on it. This is probably my favorite Fall Out Boy album of all time.
As I mentioned before, Infinity On High was unlike any of the band’s previous work. At this point in their careers Fall Out Boy were known as the kings of the Pop-punk/Emo scene. This album had some elements of that and definitely songs that would have fit perfectly on one of their previous two albums like “The Carpal Tunnel Of Love” or “This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race”, but the majority of the songs on this album insanely different. Instead of simply being punky and sweet, songs were now influenced by R&B and Soul music to give them a more a polished pop sound. In fact they even had a track produced by Babyface! Speaking of sounding more polished, another huge change from the previous album to this one was the fact that you could actually tell what lead singer Patrick Stump was saying when he sang. No more melodious marble mouth for this band. On top of this his range had greatly improved and his soaring vocals began to be the highlight of every track.
Infinity On High is also the album where we see the band expand upon their subject matter a little bit. On previous albums bassist, Pete Wentz, mostly wrote about romantic relationships (successful or otherwise) or his struggles with mental illness, and while there is certainly some of that on this album but the majority of the album speaks to how the band is dealing with their newfound fame, Grammy snubs, and things of the like. One notable song, “You’re Crashing, But You’re No Wave” details the rigged court case of civil rights activist Fred Hampton Jr.
And now we’re going to talk about the reason I love this album so damn much.
The lyrics. Oh my Zeus, the lyrics. In my humble opinion this is some of Wentz’ best writing to date. These songs are riddled with witty snarky one liners that would make a rapper rewind two or three times just to hear it again. Not only are the lyrics clever, but they’re phrased in a way that makes them nigh unforgettable. “I’m alright in bed, but I’m better with a pen” “I can learn to pity fools, as I’m the worst of all and I can’t stop feeling sorry for myself” “The road outside my house is paved with good intentions. Hire a construction crew cause it’s hell on the engine” “I can’t commit to a thing, be it heart or hospital” “Sometimes we take chances; sometimes we take pills” ” I sing the blues and swallow them too” I could go on all day to be completely honest. The lyrical construction of this album blew me away when I first heard it, and it does so almost every time I listen to it. It was also a major influence on my own writing (Oh yeah I write lyrics and poems and junk sometimes if you didn’t know). The funny thing about it is (at least to me) when asked about the lyrical prose of this album, Pete Wentz said that he was influenced by Lil Wayne. Wentz stated that Wayne was the greatest lyricist of the year 2006.
So that’s what I believe makes Infinity On High great. Do you agree or disagree with what I’ve said? Do you not have an opinion one way or the other? let me know in the comments below. If you somehow haven’t heard this album in the past decade, (then you missed a Fall Out Boy Jay-Z collaboration and you should be ashamed of yourself) then you should definitely check it out and see how you feel about it. On another note, I know I’ve been posting rather infrequently lately, but I’ll try to fix that for all five of you who faithfully read my junk (Thanks dudettes and dudes love you all). Stay on the lookout for more lists, album reviews, and what it means to me posts.
There’s Some Flava For Your Ear
P.S. Notable Tracks: Fame<Infamy, Golden, I’m Like A Lawyer With The Way I’m Getting You Off, Bang The Doldrums