Fall Out Boy are one of those bands that have been around a lot longer than it feels like – this album, their third, was released some fifteen years ago, a follow-up to their breakout From Under The Cork Tree (that albums biggest hit, “Dance Dance”, was a staple of cover band set lists from 2005 to 2008; I can probably still play the bass line and sing the lead vocal).
Infinity On High was a hit on release, with the song “Thnks Fr Th Mmrs” still in rock radio rotations all these years later, and for good reason: this album is full of great pop-punk tracks – “The Take Over, The Breaks Over” is catchy as all fuck, “This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race” is more pop than punk but undeniably fun, “I’m Like A Lawyer” (full title too long to type) is maybe the best song here, “Don’t You Know Who I Think I Am?” might be the best merge of the pop and punk halves of the group, and those are just my favourites. I’ve always been enamoured by Patrick Stump’s vocal work, strong but melodic without leaning into screams or growls like you might expect.
Researching the album, I found myself tsk’ing a few times – lyricist Pete Wentz claimed during the writing that Lil Wayne was the best lyricist of 2006 and I don’t know what to feel about that, other than that I feel its wrong – and some of the lyrical work is questionable; as one example, Stump sings “You’re a canary / I’m a coal mine / Cause sorrow is just all the rage” at the start of closing track “I’ve Got All This Ringing In My Ears”, and, let’s be honest, that makes no goddamn sense at all.
But a few pretentious interview soundbites and odd lyrics aside, I reckon this is a strong album from start to finish, and much better than you might expect given the trajectory of Fall Out Boy’s career.
CLTM (Chris Listens To Music) is my attempt to listen to a new album every day; you can follow my efforts on Instagram here (and send recommendations), and if you like what I’m doing, support my efforts by shouting me a cuppa at Buy Me A Coffee.