Review Summary: A Complete Turnaround
Fall Out Boy - Infinity On High
Review by Clumpy
Before I begin this review, let's set the stage with some appropriate context.
I think we all remember a time when Fall Out Boy sucked hard. In 2005, when their album "From Under the Cork Tree" was released, right-thinking people everywhere dismissed them as another corporate emo clone. And they were absolutely correct. "From Under the Cork Tree" wasn't just boring - it was depressingly mediocre. Each song was calculated to be hooky and catchy, tailor-made for the sort of brainwashed tools who buy junk records like this. That year my emo hatred was in full swing and, if I remember correctly, Fall Out Boy became a subject of my hatred - a symbol of everything soulless and empty, everything pandering for sales.
Enter the new Fall Out Boy.
Like many of you who have heard the album, "Infinity on High" takes me completely by surprise. Never has a band's impression in my mind reversed so abruptly. I actually like
this record. I mean, really, really
like it. This album stands leagues over its emo peers. Fall Out Boy have made the move to soul, and they've kept their energy and fast riffs while beating bands like Maroon 5 at their own game.
Every song on Infinity on High is packed with energy. To be fair, few emo bands have lacked energy (weepy, boring Dashboard Confessional aside), but this is a different kind of energy - exciting and soaring, far from the mindless junker of a record they could have released. This album walks the line dividing commercial accesibility and quality, and manages to thrill while it's at it. I came into this record with gutter expectations and left with the songs ringing in my ears.
Nearly every track is a standout - some pound a steady rhythm, expanding on themselves to some truly epic finishes. Standout single "This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race" starts powerfully and hits with a scorching transitioning into the rolling chorus. More introspective tracks like "Golden" work the melodic side more subtly.
Every element of this album plays with the power-emo core that made Fall Out Boy successful, while pushing forward into new musical ground for the genre. The vocals, instrumentation and songwriting have all matured and improved. Don't get me wrong - this album will be absolutely at home in the hands of the preteen girls and posers that bought the band's last record. But some of us more jaded listeners will manage to enjoy it as well.
While the album has a couple of missteps (the cliched opening faux-epic moments of single "Thnks Fr Th Mmrs", a couple terrible screamo moments later in the album), I recommend that everybody give this album at least a listen. Support a band who stopped sucking and hopefully some other bands will follow suit. In fact, if they release one more good album in a couple of years and axe "Panic! at the Disco" from their record label, I might even buy a t-shirt!
EDIT: I realize that others may not like this album as much as I do, and that others may not have hated "From Under the Cork Tree" as much as I did. Use your judgement on this one. It's hardly original - just executed quite well.
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