The current y2k revival has reminded us of Paris Hilton, mini skirts, and flip phones. But what about those who associate the noughties with eyeliner, insanely large fringes, and MySpace?
For the emos of the decade, the noughties were infused with teen angst and triumphed by bands like Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance, and Panic! At The Disco. Last month, we celebrated the 15 year anniversary of Fall Out Boy’s third studio release, Infinity on High. With the album’s singles still accumulating 700 million streams on Spotify, it’s safe to say their cultural impact remains significant.
From slowed down ballad ‘Golden’, to the brash, up-beat tempo in ‘Fame<Infamy’, Infinity on High has a track for everyone. In true Fall Out Boy fashion, the album is unique to their previous releases, yet still remains authentic to their sound. Infinity on High also graced us with the legendary single ‘Thnks fr th Mmrs’. With its gradual build in and out of loud, exhilarating drums and chantable lyrics, the track went double platinum and earned its title as a Fall Out Boy staple.
Infinity on High opens with a recording from the CEO of the band’s label, Jay Z. The decision to feature an RnB star on an alternative rock album highlighted an iconic shift in their brand. They were no longer the homegrown, dirty rockers that released ‘Evening Out with Your Girlfriend’ in 2003. They were 3-time Grammy-nominated, international superstars, mingling with the biggest names in music. Compared to their earlier releases, the sound design produced a far cleaner effect, marking a move away from their grungier sound and towards the pop stylings they’re known for today.
The album is an allegory for their newfound stardom. Ironically, whilst their sound embraced and evolved with this change, the lyrics remain cynical of their fame, calling out to fans and promising them they won’t change. Single ‘This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race’ presents this dichotomy. Whilst a commercial success, the song critiques the industry, with lead singer Patrick Stump declaring ‘Bandwagons full, please catch another’.
Bassist Pete Wentz discussed the single ‘The Take Over, The Breakover’, in an interview with Rolling Stone, stating: “There may be other songs on the record that would make bigger radio hits, but this one has the right message.” The loud, distorted riffs speak to their original punk influences, whilst the anthem-like bridge creates a defiant message. The lines ‘We do it in the dark, with smiles on our faces, We’re dropped and well concealed, In secret places […] We don’t fight fair’, recur alongside a chiming piano and almost militaristic drum roll. The band presents an empowering message of unity to their fans. The idea of a ‘we’ is a significant part of their brand; the idea that they represent the outcasts and stand with the lonely hearts. In ‘The Take Over, The Breakover’, Fall Out Boy publicly show that behind the awards and flashing lights, they are still members of this community.
Throughout the years, Fall Out Boy has spoiled their fans with merchandise. To celebrate the anniversary, they released a special edition Infinity on High and Thnks Fr Th Mmrs T-Shirts. As their cultural impact continues to be felt, Fall Out Boy stands by their lyric ‘Don’t pretend you’ll ever forget about me’.
Infinity On High is available now via Island Records. You can listen to the single ‘The Carpal Tunnel of Love’ here: