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Fall Out Boy’s Infinity on High stands just as strong fifteen years later

Back in 2007 the alternative music scene was thriving like never before, packed full of artists trying to make their names known: pop-punk band All Time Low had just released their second album, So Wrong It’s Right; Mayday Parade had made their debut with A Lesson In Romantics; Paramore made history when they Riot!ed (pun intended) their way into our hearts. It was a time of heavy competition, as alternative music edged its way towards becoming mainstream. Coming down from the success of their double-platinum album From Under The Cork Treeit was clear that Fall Out Boy would have to break some new ground with their next record. However, the band weren’t short on confidence. 

Because the album mixed several genres, the record was vital in creating what is now recognisable as Fall Out Boy’s style of music. 

In a 2007 interview, writer and singer Patrick Stump told Gibson Guitars: “The second you worry about other peoples’ expectations, you can expect failure. Not that we don’t have big hopes for this album… But you can’t sit around second-guessing everything”.

He was right to be confident about the band’s third album, Infinity on High. Upon its February release, it shot to Number 1 on the Billboard chart, reached the top of the UK Top 40, and made it into the Top 5 in Australia. It achieved commercial success largely through embracing new genres, blending 70s funk, R&B, and disco with their unique rock sound, as well as becoming more radio-friendly with its anthemic pop choruses. And although it wasn’t indicative of the band “selling out” yet, the songs were more commercial and more accessible to a wider audience than previous releases. Because the album mixed several genres, the record was vital in creating what is now recognisable as Fall Out Boy’s style of music. 

The entire album was produced over three month period of intense recording sessions, demonstrating the band’s commitment to producing a constant stream of music.

Some of Fall Out Boy’s most iconic songs debuted on the 2007 album, including ‘This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race’, ‘Thnks fr th Mmrs’, and ‘Bang The Doldrums’. While many bands from this period have since disappeared from the music scene— does anyone still listen to The Used or Taking Back Sunday anymore?— these songs are still in heavy circulation among alternative music fans. What’s more, they even reappear on the radio from time to time. In making Infinity on High so different from what other bands were putting out at the time, Fall Out Boy may have actually increased the playability of the songs, and therefore prevented their album from ageing like milk, as many other 2007 albums have done. Infinity remains one of their most successful albums to this day.  

It’s impressive how Fall Out Boy were able to build on their breakthrough success with Cork Tree, writing the songs for their third album while they were still touring the previous one. The entire album was produced over three month period of intense recording sessions, demonstrating the band’s commitment to producing a constant stream of music. Fall Out Boy lyricist and bassist Pete Wentz argued that “bands [going] away and disappear[ing] off the face of the planet” was the main problem with the rock industry, something that no doubt contributed to their later burnout and hiatus in 2010.  

Infinity on High also demonstrates the beginning of alternative music merging with mainstream pop culture, collaborating with Jay-Z on the opening of the album ‘Thriller’ and creating a promotional video for This Ain’t A Scene’ which featured Kim Kardashian. The album also leans on the idea that ‘no press is bad press’, relying on media attention for its promotion. Notable examples included the leaking of Pete Wentz’s nude photos, and hinting at the (suspected) relationship between Pete Wentz and My Chemical Romance’s Mikey Way in their lyrics.  

Through embracing pop music and culture, the band were able to produce “a shamelessly melodic, wild and powerful pop record”, which may have been different from their previous releases at the time but was vital in shaping what is now known as the unequivocal Fall Out Boy sound. And, while Fall Out Boy’s promise of being a “genre-defying band” hasn’t always led to commercial success or a positive reception from fans, there’s no doubt that it all began with Infinity on High. 

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