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Saturday, February 10, 2007

Fall Out Boy - Infinity On High
Release Date: February 6, 2007
Label: Island

I hate Fall Out Boy. I think it's fair to preface this review by getting that out of the way. I hate singer Patrick Stump's whiny vocals, I hate the group's annoying long "clever" song titles, and I hate the fact that in America, this supposed rock band is taking a place at the top of the charts that could be filled by so many others. With all of this being said, the grade that I'm about to give the group's newest album Infinity On High, is something of a small miracle.

The sole reason for my sudden semi circle turnaround with this band is experimentation. Wisely, the boys realized that their trendy brand of emo rock wasn't likely to garner them many more hits when the American public finally decide to move on to a new preferred genre. So, they enlisted hip hop collaborators and produced some tracks, like the winning single This Ain't A Scene, It's An Arm Race, that coat the group's stylings in a layer of urban beats and theatrical pop/rock songwriting. Suddenly, Stump's whine is replaced by a surprisingly effective and charismatic croon and the songs are lifted to a completely different level than before. Even the song titles are less annoying. Tracks like Take Over, The Break’s Over and I'm Like a Lawyer With the Way I'm Always Trying to Get You Off (Me & You) wander closely to a harder edged Maroon 5, and are all the better for it. Then, there's Golden (easily the best ballad the band's ever produced) and I've Got All This Ringing in My Ears and None on My Fingers, which borrow touches from classic rock and rock opera. Who expected that?

This new, welcome energy is sustained throughout a half to three quarters of the record. The rest, like You're Crashing, But You're No Wave and Thriller, sounds just like old style Fallout Boy. The legions of FOB supporters will surely eat it up. I do not. Still, I never thought this band would surprise me the way they have with Infinity On High. One step further, and I might have to consider myself a fan. B

Key Tracks: This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race, I'm Like a Lawyer With the Way I'm Always Trying to Get You Off (Me & You), I've Got All This Ringing in My Ears and None on My Fingers


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