Fall Out Boy Infinity On High

Though they’ve sold a few million records, Fall Out Boy have as many enemies as friends. Overwhelming popularity always does that to bands but thanks to Pete Wentz’s attention-hungry antics (umm, say hello to my little friend?), Fall Out Boy aren’t a band one has much sympathy for. But with their third album, Fall Out Boy have managed to pull one out of their hat, bettering their first two albums and making up for their three appalling guest appearances on One Tree Hill. Infinity On High finds the boys leaving behind quirky emo and pursuing bigger, better things: becoming the biggest pop punk band in the world. Lead single "This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race” is the year’s most beguiling song, and then there are the two cuts produced by Babyface. Yeah, R&B megastar Kenneth Edmonds successfully assists with the Avril Lavigne-ish "I’m Like A Lawyer…” and anthem in waiting "Thanks For the Mmrs.” It’s "The (After) Life Party,” however, that impresses most, with its ambition to cross over into ’80s new romantic balladry while clearly striving to become an epic rock song. Even when they nick Jimmy Eat World riffage and get a bad high school choir to emulate Leonard Cohen’s "Hallelujah” for a song FOB pull it off without a hitch. And yet with all the praise for a band adored by eight-year olds Fall Out Boy still can’t hold the listener’s attention for 47 minutes. Much like 2005’s From Under the Cork Tree, they need to cut down on the running time, because its length isn’t nearly as enjoyable as their elongated song titles. (Island)