Fall Out Boy’s new and improved scene

Adam Griffiths

More bands should do what Fall Out Boy does.

Realize they’re at the forefront of the next wave of a genre (emo), make everyone crazy by tossing in a few twists (hints of R&B) and never let go of their roots.

With Infinity on High, the band members have successfully set themselves apart from their rivals-in-crime Panic! At The Disco. But where it used to be a battle of man-makeup and girl pants, Fall Out Boy has emerged with a more shrewd, fully developed sound.

Fall Out Boy

Infinity on High

Released on Island Records

Stater rating (out of five): ???

Well, as mature as can be expected from a band that proclaims it’s “not a shoulder to cry on” in the first, old-school single, “This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race.”

As singer Patrick Stump’s voice slips into Jason Mraz territory on part of the album, the lyrics, overall, push the tracks beyond the repetitive “Dance, Dance” and “Sugar, We’re Goin Down” sound from their previous album, From Under the Cork Tree. The closest thing to compare it to is Cork Tree’s “A Little Less 16 Candles, A Little More ‘Touch Me.'”

The album’s final track, “I’ve Got This All Ringing In My Ears and None on My Fingers,” is the best listen. It’s a breath of fresh air after tracks full of sugar-coated pop guitar and the perfect mix of emo lyrics and swooning melodies, chugging along to the end.

And it’s more than can be said for the rest of the album. “Hum Hallelujah” does just that, sampling melody from Leonard Cohen’s tune made popular by the likes of Jeff Buckley and Rufus Wainwright. On “Golden,” Stump comes off as Adam Pascal of RENT fame warbling out questions like, “How cruel is the golden rule?” in Ashlee Simpson “Shadow” fashion.

“Thnks Fr Th Mmrs” is addictively clich‚ with lyrics like “Get me out of my mind/get you out of those clothes/I’m a letter away/From letting you get in the mood.” Another track asks the listener “Don’t You Think I Know Who I Am?”

While Fall Out Boy doesn’t really come off as knowing who they are, they do understand their audience strikingly well. Throughout the album they are able to micromanage fans and address them individually.

Infinity on High</> is all over the place. It’s indulging and at times overdone on purpose, but most of it is satisfying. It’s four boys and a couple of guest producers (Babyface, among them, hops on board for a few tracks) telling the world that they’re going to do what they want to do and, by the way, so should you.

It’s hard to get closer to emo than that.

Contact ALL correspondent Adam Griffiths at [email protected].