First the good news; they’ve done everything they could to stay true to the original fan base and not change, and a large portion of that original flavor that made so many people like them to begin with is here. Their songs remain unique with lyrics that are somewhat odd but still refreshing, and those lyrics are accompanied by music that just fits; there’s no other way to describe it.
This band’s strength is their chemistry. Pete Wentz is a good song writer and is half of an excellent rhythm section. Andrew Hurley is a beast on the drums and hangs out in the shadows with guitarist Joseph Trohman, (who is also more than capable.) What draws people to the band though is Patrick Stump’s voice. There’s never been a singer in the mainstream with the same tone and the uniqueness of Stump’s voice makes them stand out. My point is that all the components of their success are still there, and it works on about 75% of this album.
Out of 14 tracks there are probably three or four misses. I hate the single “This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race.” Although it’s probably the kind of song that showcase’s Stump’s voice the best, it’s also a big step away from their original material. Also a couple of the tracks that were produced by Babyface just don’t fit. Not to say he didn’t do a good job, they just don’t fit in with Neal Avron did here. The strongest track on the album has to be the track Butch Walker produced along with Stump Walker fuses the pop sound that the band was going for with their original sound. I just wish he produced the entire record…
The main flaw with this album is that it tries to do two different things at once that really can’t be done. They’re trying to stay true to their original fan base and ignore being such a focal point in the media. But there are a lot of shiny pop elements on the album that can’t help but be thought of as songs to keep the mainstream pleased.
There’s a lot missing from this album, and there’s a lot that some people say is missing with Fall Out Boy, but they’re still a good band and this is still a good album. Ignore all the hype and disregard the Verizon commercial (It takes some work, but it can be done.) “Infinity on High” is a good follow up and should be listened to not only for relevance, but because it’s pretty good too.