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Infinity on High
Infinity on High
Album Info
Released February 6, 2007
Recorded July-October 2006 at the Pass Studios in Los Angeles, California
Genre Pop punk, alternative rock, pop rock
Length 47:49
Label Island Records
Producer Neal Avron, Babyface, Butch Walker, Patrick Stump
Singles
1 "This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race"
Released: January 16, 2007
2 "Thnks fr th Mmrs"
Released: April 9, 2007
3 ""The Take Over, the Breaks Over""
Released: July 2, 2007
4 "I'm Like a Lawyer with the Way I'm Always Trying to Get You Off (Me & You)"
Released: September 11, 2007
5 (N/A)
Album Timeline
Previous
From Under the Cork Tree
(2005)
This Album
Infinity on High
(2007)
Next
Leaked in London
(2007)


Infinity on High is the third studio album by American rock band Fall Out Boy, released on February 6, 2007 by Island Records as the follow-up to the band's commercially successful 2005 album From Under the Cork Tree. Pre-production began in the group's hometown of Chicago, where writing and rehearsal sessions took place. It was recorded from July to October 2006 at the Pass Studios in Los Angeles, California and mixed at the Paramount Recording Studios in Hollywood. The music was composed by lead singer and guitarist Patrick Stump and the lyrics were penned by bassist Pete Wentz.

The album features collaborations with new producers and guest artists such as Babyface and Jay-Z, and sees the band experimenting with musical genres other than pop punk including R&B, soul, and flamenco. The group also utilized instruments such as horns, violins and pianos, which had not been used on previous releases. As reported by Billboard, Fall Out Boy "drifts further from its pop punk roots to write increasingly accessible pop tunes," a slight departure from the group's previous sound. Critics felt that the lyrics served as a response to the band's rise to fame. The group embarked on several tours to promote the album, including the Friends or Enemies Tour, the Honda Civic Tour, and the Young Wild Things Tour. In the wake of the album's leak on the internet, the band included a download code for Leaked in London, a live extended play, with each purchase made during the first week of its initial release.

Infinity on High debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200, selling 260,000 copies in its first week, making it Fall Out Boy's first number one album and second top ten effort. It also reached number one in New Zealand and opened inside the top five worldwide in countries including Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. Infinity on High has sold over two million units worldwide, with 1.4 million sales in the US as of February 2013. Four of the album's fourteen songs were released as singles, of which three charted on the Billboard Hot 100, led by the lead single "This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race" at number two. The album was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on March 12, one month after its release, for shipments of one million copies. It received generally positive reviews from music critics, with many praising Stump's vocals and the album's new musical direction.

Background Edit

2007

Fall Out Boy pictured in 2007

After taking a two-month break following the band's Black Clouds and Underdogs tour in promotion of their 2005 album From Under the Cork Tree, Fall Out Boy returned to the studio to begin work on their follow-up effort. The band began writing songs for the new album while touring, and intended to quickly make a new album in order to keep momentum in the wake of their breakthrough success. Vocalist Patrick Stump stated that he wished to begin working on the record earlier, but the group's management urged the members to take time off to recuperate from their constant touring schedule.

The band's label, Island Records, underwent changes while the group prepared to record, which postponed the studio schedule for three weeks. Bassist/lyricist Pete Wentz asserted that "We're definitely writing all the time, so we're not going to try to squeeze every last drop out of the stone. That's part of what's been wrong with the rock industry: they keep fans waiting far too long, and bands go away and disappear off the face of the planet. That's not the way it's going to be for Fall Out Boy." During this time off, Fall Out Boy contributed a cover of the song "What's This?" for the 2006 re-release of The Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack, as well as a remix of their song "Of All the Gin Joints in All the World" for the Snakes on a Plane soundtrack. Wentz also purchased a house in Los Angeles, where he spent much time writing lyrics to new songs.

Recording and Production Edit

While writing the album, Fall Out Boy began searching for potential producers. The band sought out R&B singer/producer Babyface, as they admired his work on the soundtrack to the 2001 film version of Josie and the Pussycats. Babyface saw one of the interviews in which the band discussed its desire to work with him and contacted the group. Babyface produced two of the songs, "I'm Like a Lawyer with the Way I'm Always Trying to Get You Off (Me & You)" and "Thnks fr th Mmrs". Neal Avron, who also produced the band's previous album, handled production for eleven of Infinity on High's fourteen tracks. Before recording, the band began with six weeks of pre-production, which was encouraged by Avron. This period included both rehearsals and writing, as well as working out all the sounds and arrangements. It began in Chicago before the group relocated to the Swing House studios in Los Angeles. Additionally, some rough recordings of songs were created to be used in the studio as a future reference.

Infinity on High was recorded from July to October 2006 at the Pass Studios in Los Angeles. Much of the writing process was done individually by the band members. Generally, Wentz would write his lyrics first and send them to Stump, who would create a melody by playing guitar along to the words to "find a groove". Stump's goal with his songs was to create his music while changing Wentz’s original lyrics as little as possible. After a melody was written, Stump would create a general rhythm for the song. Although Fall Out Boy has no specific rhythm or lead guitar roles, Stump viewed himself as more of a rhythm guitarist on the album due to his experience as a drummer in previous bands. Guitarist Joe Trohman often wrote his guitar parts after hearing Stump’s work, filling in the "empty spaces" in the songs with "tons of guitars and Johnny Marr-type atmospheric parts". The group felt that this writing process helped create a more full sound.

Upon listening to the finished tracks, the members selected guest appearances they felt would work with the songs. The group "aim[ed] for the stars" on its choices of collaborators, with Wentz stating, "I want to bring in people who no one would expect...This year it's like, we made some new friends, like Lil Wayne. Or let's get Jay-Z on there." Wentz commented on working with Jay-Z, saying "It was insane. We called him up and thought we were gonna talk to his assistant. Then he answers the phone, like, 'Yo, this is Hov,' and we were like, 'Um ...' It just happened like that. And it was pretty crazy." Jay-Z recorded his introduction to the album's opening song "Thriller" while on tour in Australia and sent it to the band, who later put the vocal on the album. At a fashion show in Los Angeles, Wentz met rapper Kanye West, who invited Wentz and Stump to his home to share new music. West then agreed to create a remix of "This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race" three weeks before the scheduled release of the album. The band was unable to include the remix on the album due to time constraints, but a remix of West's version featuring Lil Wayne, Lupe Fiasco, Travis McCoy, Paul Wall and Tyga was released in July 2007.

During the recording of the album, the band members pursued other various activities. Stump, who co-produced "Don't You Know Who I Think I Am?" from Infinity on High, was also working on fellow Fueled By Ramen act The Hush Sound's album Like Vines. Wentz was conceiving a social networking website called FriendsOrEnemies.com as well as designing for his clothing line, Clandestine Industries. Wentz was often interviewed about the album at Clandestine fashion shows.

Composition Edit

Music Edit

The album marked a departure in Fall Out Boy's sound in which the band implemented a diverse array of musical styles. As reported by Billboard, Fall Out Boy "drifts further from its hardcore punk roots to write increasingly accessible pop tunes," a slight departure from the group's previous more pop punksound. Infinity on High has been compared to the work of pop punk bands such as Green Day, with Ann Powers of the Los Angeles Times commenting, "Whatever snot and feedback courses through these songs, sweetness always triumphs, carried forth by bubblegum bass lines, snappy drums and tunes as comforting as lullabies." Stump explained that the album contains a variety of different moods: "It’s one of those things where you get older as a band and you do your own thing...The older Fall Out Boy elements, from the early records, are definitely there, and this album is an extension of that."

Stump called "This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race" the "funkiest thing we’ve ever done", and attributes the change in musical style to his love of soul music, which he acquired by listening to oldies stations as a child. Wentz describes the song "a bit of '70s funk mixed with [the band’s 2003 album] Take This to Your Grave with tight verses and big, fat choruses". The song closing sing-along was influenced by Justin Timberlake's "Señorita". Cory Apar of Allmusic compared the Babyface-produced track "I'm Like a Lawyer with the Way I'm Always Trying to Get You Off (Me & You)" to Maroon 5. Wentz characterized Stump’s vocal performance on the song as "straight-up Motown", continuing to say "If there wasn't a rock band playing, it'd be straight R&B, and he'd go on tour with just an upright bass and a drum and open up for R. Kelly." "The Carpal Tunnel of Love" has been referred to as "a prime slab of what the boys have become famous for: highly caffeinated pop-punk mixed with a little white-boy soul and some hard-core yelping." The song features Stump singing in a falsetto in the chorus over Trohman’s "crunchy" guitars, as well as a breakdown in which Wentz employs death growl-style vocals.

Jay

Fall Out Boy pictured with Jay-Z and Beyoncé.

The band also used instruments that did not appear on previous albums, such as horns and violins. The members became more open to experimentation, but attempted to not over-produce the album; Stump stated that he "had to resist the temptation to use a lot of strings." "Golden" consists exclusively of vocals and piano, and Stump dubbed the song "much softer than anything we’ve ever done". The group utilizes a full horn section on "I've Got All This Ringing in My Ears and None on My Fingers", a track which has been likened to Queen. Violins are used on both "Thnks fr th Mmrs", in addition to an acoustic guitar strummed flamenco-style, and "The (After) Life of the Party", which also features electronic-influenced sounds. Commenting on the instruments used on "Thnks fr th Mmrs", Stump stated "I never thought I'd get a euphonium onto a Fall Out Boy record". "You're Crashing, But You're No Wave" features a gospel choir, while "Thriller" contains a spoken-word intro from Jay-Z. Barry Nicolson of NME referred to the song as a "towering, Foo Fighters-esque slice of thunderous rhythm and radio-friendly melody."

Lyrics Edit

While writing the album, Wentz drew lyrical inspiration from rapper Lil Wayne, whom he called "the best lyricist of [2006]." Speaking of Infinity on High's lyrical themes, Wentz stated, "On the last record, the lyrics were about 'This is where we're going to be a year from now, and this is what you're going to be saying about us.' But this time, we realized that a lot of bands should spend less time running their mouths and more time writing their songs." In 2013, Wentz reflected, "on a record like Infinity on High, I feel like I tried really hard to explain my perspective – and when I look back on it in hindsight I think it’s an extremely unrelatable record. Critics felt that much of the lyrics address the band's rise to fame and the pressure of maintaining a loyal fanbase. Sasha Frere-Jones of The New Yorker commented that "The only top-ten acts that talk about fame as much as Fall Out Boy does are rappers, although their take on selling records is less conflicted." Cory Apar of Allmusic opined that "Wentz' lyrics are oftentimes resentful, full of fame-induced angst, and really emphasize his need to drive home his position that stardom has not changed the band."

"Thriller" serves as an autobiographical recap of the two years following From Under the Cork Tree's release, referencing the band's mediocre CD reviews and breakout success, as well as thanking their "diehard" fans. The song discusses the band's Best New Artist Grammy loss, and Wentz calls it the "most narcissistic song on the album". The line "Fix me in forty-five" is a reference to the length of a therapy session. On "This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race", Wentz uses wartime-inspired metaphors to discuss their newfound popularity; he called the song "kind of a tongue-in-cheek look at the way we are so addicted and obsessed with new arts, cultures and loves – to the point where it just becomes oversaturated." "I'm Like a Lawyer..." has been described as "about as close to a love song as you'll get from this band, a rare moment of tenderness among songs about blog entries, guest lists, and therapy sessions." In a tribute to the politicized Chicago hardcore scene, Wentz describes the story of a rigged court case of African-American civil rights activist Fred Hampton, Jr. in "You're Crashing, But You're No Wave". The song has been described as a "very well-written track, a welcome respite from the one-liners which permeate the majority of the record."

Packaging and Title Edit

The album's title is taken from a letter written by Vincent van Gogh to his brother Theo in 1888, in which he describes his renewed health and the positive effect it has had on his painting. Originally written in Dutch, Van Gogh's phrasing has been translated as "Be clearly aware of the stars and infinity on high. Then life seems almost enchanted after all". Speaking of the title shortly after its announcement in November 2006, Wentz stated "As for what that means in relation to the record, we'll just let it unfold when people hear it." While Wentz declined to reveal the relationship between the title and the album's songs, MTV reporter James Montgomery opined that "It's not difficult to see it as a statement about the band rising above detractors and finding strength within themselves."

The photography for the album was done by Pamela Littky, and the sets on the album artwork were designed by Todd Fjelsted. Chuck Anderson of NoPattern designed the artwork for the album. A winged sheep is depicted on the cover of the album in a bedroom with the moon and stars in the background, while the inside of the CD booklet features "tarot card" designs with photos of each of the band members.

Promotion Edit

Promotion for the album began in November 2006 with the band performing "This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race" for the first time at the American Music Awards on November 21. The song was shipped to radio the same night as the performance. In the week following the performance, the single was the top added track at Pop and Alternative radio. While the song was the first song revealed from the album, it would not receive an official single release until January of 2007. "The Carpal Tunnel of Love" was released as a digital promotional single in December 2006. It was a minor hit in the United States, peaking at 81 on theBillboard Hot 100. The band then began the Friends or Enemies Tour in January 2007 to build interest in the album. The tour consisted of intimate club shows in fifteen cities throughout the United States, with New Found Glory, The Early November, Permanent Me and Lifetime. Two weeks before Infinity on High was released, the album was leaked online, which led to rumors on the band's message boards that the album would be released a week early. Although these rumors were incorrect, Fall Out Boy responded to the leak by including an exclusive live EP, Leaked in London, recorded in London's Hammersmith Palais at their sold-out show on January 29, 2006, with each purchase to encourage fans to buy the album.The EP could be downloaded from the band's website between Tuesday, February 6, 2007 and Tuesday, February 13, 2007 using CDPass software along with inserting a physical copy of Infinity on High into the CD-ROM drive of one's computer. Infinity on High was the final release from Rabid Neurosis, a warez organization responsible for leaking 20,000 albums before their release.

On February 6, 2007, the day of the album's release, Fall Out Boy played three free shows, each in a different

Interview

Stump and Wentz being interviewed during their World Record setting string of interviews.

city in the United States. The day started with a morning performance in Times Square in New York City, followed by a gig in the band's hometown of Chicago, and then a late-night show in Los Angeles. In March 2008, Fall Out Boy attempted to enter the The Guinness Book of World Records for being the only band to perform in all seven continents in nine months, planning to perform in Antarctica for an audience of scientists while working with Greenpeace to raise awareness about global warming. However, the group was unable to make the flight from Punta Arenas, Chile to Antarctica due to poor weather. Instead, Wentz and Stump went on to break the world record for the most interviews conducted by a duo in a 24-hour period, setting the mark at seventy-four.

To promote the album after its release, Fall Out Boy embarked on an extensive tour schedule, with concerts across the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Europe and Asia. It began with the 2007 Honda Civic Tour with Paul Wall, +44, The Academy Is..., and Cobra Starship. The tour was originally planned to begin on April 18, 2007 but the band decided to postpone the date until May 11, citing health issues and exhaustion. Wentz stated "It's a health issue, but not a health issue that anyone needs to worry about. It's not life-threatening, it's more about being overworked and worn down." In honor of the tour, the group designed a custom Honda Civic Hybrid which was given away to a fan in a contest. Wentz described the tour as "our biggest show ever", with Stump adding that "We've been working really hard to make this show look and sound the best it's ever been for Fall Out Boy." For a Kiss-inspired fan contest, Wentz's brother created prints of images based on the record, created with ink mixed with the band members' blood. The band gave away prints to winners at every stop on the Honda Civic Tour. Wentz hoped that the contest would serve to "[shed] some light on the much-needed support for blood drives." A live concert CD and DVD recorded at a show in Phoenix was later released in 2008, entitled Live in Phoenix.

The band also headlined the Young Wild Things Tour, an international arena tour featuring Gym Class Heroes,Plain White T's and Cute Is What We Aim For. Of the thirty one dates, twenty nine were in the US with two in Canada. The tour was inspired by Maurice Sendak's 1963 children's book Where the Wild Things Are, and included sets designed by artist Rob Dobi containing images from the book. Commenting on the decision to incorporate elements from the book, Wentz explained "Where the Wild Things Are is a great narrative. It encapsulates pretty much every FOB song ever written: You know, tantrums and monster islands and all."

Track listing Edit

All lyrics were written by Pete Wentz, all music composed by Fall Out Boy.

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Thriller" Stump, Wentz Neal Avron 3:30
2. ""The Take Over, the Breaks Over"" Stump, Wentz Neal Avron 3:34
3. "This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race" Stump, Wentz Neal Avron 3:32
4. "I'm Like a Lawyer with the Way I'm Always Trying to Get You Off (Me & You)" Stump, Wentz Babyface 3:31
5. "Hum Hallelujah" Stump, Wentz, Cohen Neal Avron 3:50
6. "Golden" Stump, Wentz, Eisold Neal Avron 2:32
7. "Thnks fr th Mmrs" Stump, Wentz Babyface 3:23
8. "Don't You Know Who I Think I Am?" Stump, Wentz Butch Walker, Patrick Stump 2:51
9. "The (After) Life of the Party" Stump, Wentz Neal Avron 3:21
10. "The Carpal Tunnel of Love" Stump, Wentz, Eisold Neal Avron 3:23
11. "Bang the Doldrums" Stump, Wentz, Eisold Neal Avron 3:31
12. "Fame < Infamy" Stump, Wentz Neal Avron 3:06
13. "You're Crashing, But You're No Wave" Stump, Wentz Neal Avron 3:42
14. "I've Got All This Ringing in My Ears and None on My Fingers" Stump, Wentz Neal Avron 4:06

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