Infinity on High is Fall Out Boy's third studio album that was released on February 6, 2007 by Island Records.
- Thriller 3:29
- "The Take Over, The Breaks Over" 3:33
- This Ain't A Scene, It's An Arms Race 3:32
- I'm Like A Lawyer With The Way I'm Always Trying To Get You Off (Me + You) 3:31
- Hum Hallelujah 3:50
- Golden 2:32
- Thnks Fr Th Mmrs 3:23
- Don't You Know Who I Think I Am? 2:51
- The (After) Life Of The Party 3:21
- The Carpal Tunnel Of Love 3:23
- Bang The Doldrums 3:31
- Fame < Infamy 3:06
- You're Crashing, But You're No Wave 3:42
- I've Got All This Ringing In My Ears And None On My Fingers 4:03
After taking a two-month break following Fall Out Boy's Black Clouds and Underdogs tour in promotion of their 2005 album, "From Under the Cork Tree," the band 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 rerelease 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 & Production
While writing the album, Fall Out Boy began searching for potential producers. They 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. He produced two of the songs on the album: "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 14 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 Fall Out Boy relocated to the Swing House studios in Los Angeles, California. 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."
Fall Out Boy 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.
Fall Out Boy "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. He was often interviewed about the album at Clandestine fashion shows.
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 punk sound.
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 song, "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.
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."
"Infinity on High" was a major commercial success, debuting at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart, with first week sales of 260,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
The album has sold 1.4 million copies in the US to date as of February 2013. It was the band's first US number one album and second consecutive top ten effort, as its previous release, "From Under the Cork Tree" peaked at #9.
It spent its first six weeks in the top ten, out of a total of fifty two chart weeks. Infinity on High also opened at number one on Billboard's Rock Albums, Tastemaker Albums, and Digital Albums charts, with over 27,000 digital sales making up the total first week tally.
In its second week, it fell to number five on the Billboard 200, selling 119,000 copies with a 54% decline during a post-Grammy week.
The album rose to #3 in its third week with 79,000 units sold. In its fourth week, the disc slipped to number four and sold 67,000 copies.
The album's sales again fell in its fifth week, moving 58,000 copies and descending to number eight on the chart. In its sixth and last week in the top ten, it fell to number nine and sold 43,000 copies.
In April of 2007, the album was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), denoting the shipment of one million copies.
It finished the year at number twenty-one on IFPI's list of the "Top 50 Global Best Selling Albums of 2007."
"Infinity on High" has shipped over two million copies worldwide. The album also charted inside the top five worldwide, making it the band's most successful and breakthrough album internationally.
The album charted all over Europe, debuting at number eight on Billboard's European Albums chart.
In Australia, it debuted at its peak of number four on the Australian ARIA Albums Chart. The album remained on the Australian chart for a total of 50 weeks, spending its first seven weeks in the top ten.
During its 31st chart week, the album broke into the top ten again where it remained for another six weeks in a row, accumulating a total of thirteen weeks in the top ten.
It was certified Double Platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA), denoting shipments of 140,000 copies.
"Infinity on High" debuted at number one in New Zealand, and remained at the top position for 6 consecutive weeks, logging a total of thirty-seven chart weeks, making it the fifth longest chart sitter on the New Zealand charts in 2007.
After marking its first twelve weeks in the top 10, it went on to spend a combined total of twenty-six weeks inside the top twenty and received a Platinum accreditation from the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ) for 15,000 shipments.
In the United Kingdom, "Infinity on High" debuted at #3 with 64,054 first week sales and made nine weeks in the top 20, being certified Platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) for 300,000 units shipped.
The album went on to sell 446,807 in the UK to date as of January 2015. It debuted at number two in Canada with 21,000 first week sales. It was certified Platinum by Music Canada for shipments of 100,000 units.
In Ireland, the record peaked at number six according to the Irish Recorded Music Association with fourteen weeks within the top twenty and also went Platinum there.
After entering the French albums chart at number 64, "Infinity on High" reached its peak of number 17 and held on for 64 weeks in the top 150.
Critical response for "Infinity on High" was quite positive, with many praising Patrick Stump's vocals and the album's new musical direction.
At Metacritic, the album received an average score of 75, based on 23 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews".
Jody Rosen of Entertainment Weekly commended the band's "new sense of swing" on its R&B-influenced songs and noted that Stump "has evolved into a superb frontman."
Dave de Silva of Sputnikmusic agreed about Stump's new vocal style, saying that "his tone is smoother and more well-rounded, he’s cut out the borderline screechy high-end which made parts of the previous album unlistenable and, though occasionally still nasally, his tones are far more varied and adaptable to different styles" as well as calling Wentz' lyrics "as sharp as ever".
Andrew Blackie of PopMatters called the album "wildly exciting and experimental" and felt it greatly improved upon "From Under the Cork Tree."
Aaron Burgess of The A.V. Club enjoyed the disc's new pop direction and felt that the songs that were more typical of Fall Out Boy's original sound, such as "The Carpal Tunnel of Love" undermined the album's potential.
Sven Philipp of Billboard called the album a "shamelessly melodic, wild and powerful pop record" and referred to Stump as the album's "true surprise".
The album was ranked No. 38 on Q's 50 Best Albums of 2007.
However, some critics felt that the album was overly ambitious and that the band's musical departure may alienate listeners. Chad Grischow of IGN felt that the album's dramatic hooks seem "bloated" at times: "The band does a great of focusing on what they do best, but the album does drown itself a bit with all the overwhelming enormity of it all."
Scott Shetler of Slant disliked the "melodramatic" undertones of "I've Got All This Ringing in My Ears and None on My Fingers" and "Golden", writing "they don't handle that style quite as well as Panic! at the Disco".
Cory Apar of AllMusic opined that the album's pop direction contradicts the band's lyrical claims of wishing to stick to their roots.
He called the album's various styles "hit and miss", yet commented that "Once Infinity on High sinks in, it's indeed a fun record. But for a band that was once so self-assured and able to utilize its talents so compellingly, the album is regrettably haphazard."
Caroline Sullivan of The Guardian believed that the album was overly sullen, but noted that "They may not be happy, but they haven't forgotten to be catchy."
Barry Nicholson of NME found the amount of guest producers to be unnecessary and disliked some of the songs, but admired the album's "infectious" nature.
Promotion for "Infinity on High" began in November 2006 with the band performing their song "This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race" for the first time at the American Music Awards on November 21, 2006.
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 wouldn't receive an official single release until January 2007.
"The Carpal Tunnel of Love" was released as a digital single in December 2006. It was a minor hit in the United States, peaking at #81 on the Billboard 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" (which was 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.
The album 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 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 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, 2007, 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, 29 dates 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."