A great man once said, "Nobody ever lost money from lowballing the intelligence of the average American." The new Fall Out Boy record, Infinity on High, is a guaranteed example of this.
I will admit that about a minute and a half into listening to this album, I was thinking to myself, "Oh no, is this band actually going to break the rules of mediocrity and produce a really great album?" Over the next 45 minutes I was proven wrong, but I will say that the first song, "Thriller," is pretty great.
However, it seems the band had a really great first track and then just used that as a template for the rest. I know that the 'R&B'-influenced single, "This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race," doesn't sound just like it, but every song on this album seems pretty standard. Most of the songs on the record average the three minutes and change mark. They're the epitome of predictability in their verse-chorus-verse structure. And you still can't understand a damn thing the lead singer says.
Now, you might be saying, "But Colin, this is pop music. This isn't supposed to be anything innovative. It's made for a general populace that has little to no appreciation for anything substantial." Well, I agree, but let's compare this album to Blink-182's Enema of the State, both being the second 'big' records by bands on major labels that don't sing about much other than girls. While it could be argued Blink just stuck with what they were good at and watered it down a bit, Enema managed to be coherent and simultaneously diverse, while Infinity is all over the place and simultaneously bland.
But most of these things can be ignored, because it's pop music. Here's my huge problem with the record: This is the most vain, self-indulgent trash I have heard in such a long time. The first four songs talk about being pretty or the 'scene' way too many times. It seems like Pete Wentz didn't want to actually take time out of his life to write lyrics, so he just pulled some recent notes in his diary about how conflicted he is for being a model and a millionaire, as if we're supposed to feel sympathetic towards him. Wentz even gets the vocal spotlight for a few seconds in the, uh, 'core-ish' breakdown to "The Carpal Tunnel of Love," where he proves he knows how to use his voice just about as much as he knows how to use a Sidekick. It's a laughably horrible and awkward part of the record that pretty much shows this is absolutely nothing worth listening to more than once.
I feel similar about this album that I did the last Fall Out Boy record; somewhere, within the 47 minutes and 51 seconds, is about four or five solid minutes of good tunes. However, finding those four or five minutes and enjoying them probably won't be worth your time. Everything about this record, from the unnecessarily long (and pretty lame) song titles to the, "Somehow I'm getting away with asking for more attention" style the lyrics are written in to the overall lack of ingenuity makes it pretty obvious Fall Out Boy is totally content with being disposable pop music for the masses of 14-year-olds who will eat this record up. This record makes me think how it wasn't that long ago that Blink-182 was MTV's breakthrough band, and how the guys in Fall Out Boy should take a cue and realize no one should take themselves this seriously.