Local Wire

Fall Out Boy

Although Fall Out Boy lyricist/dreamboat Pete Wentz is inveterately verbose, his words don't mask profundity, and that's a big reason for his band's success. A lot of emo acts have a limited audience because of all that freakin' emotion. But instead of turning songs into platforms for pain, Wentz eschews angst in favor of knowing glibness that's a lot more universal because it means very little. When such lines are wedded to the appealing melodies heard throughout Infinity, the results are simultaneously smart and superficial — and that's a perfect recipe for effective pop music. The disc makes its commercial intentions clear via the first song's title ("Thriller") and an intro by Jay-Z. However, the fun really starts with "The Take Over, The Breaks Over," in which vocalist Patrick Stump boosts a danceable groove with an unexpectedly credible touch of falsetto. As for the decision to interpolate some Leonard Cohen into "Hum Hallelujah," it's not as pretentious as it seems. After all, the Boy no doubt learned the tune from the Shrek soundtrack. How profound.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently oversees Westword's news blog.
Contact: Michael Roberts