Fall Out Boy are rolling out teensy snippets of information regarding their forthcoming album in a blanket marketing scheme so comprehensive, you’d think Martha Stewart was their manager. They leaked the album’s title, Infinity On High, to MTV News. They promised AbsolutePunk.net an exclusive leak of one of their songs, “Carpal Tunnel of Love” (though we found it here). And they are scheduled to debut their single, “This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race” in a live performance for the American Music Awards on November 21st . But our Brian Hiatt was the only one who got to sit down and listen to six tracks at his leisure. The full report is in our new issue, out on stands Friday, but you can read the highlights here:
• Lyricist/bassist Pete Wentz’s diary-like lyric style branches out from teen angst on the epic “Law & Order,” an unexpected return to the band’s roots in the politicized Chicago hardcore scene: The lyrics tell the story of Fred Hampton Jr., an African-American activist who was imprisoned for eight years on what many believed to be trumped-up charges.
• Fall Out Boy chose the working title “Thriller” for the first song on their new album. (At press time all song titles were still subject to change.) “We were listening to stuff like Guns n’ Roses, the Beatles and Thriller,” says singer-guitarist Patrick Stump. “It’s not that I’m trying to make something that sells that many records — I just wanted to make it really good” “Thriller” begins with Metallica-style chugging guitars before breaking into a chorus in the vein of “Sugar, We’re Going Down” The track is self-referential, touching on the band’s Best New Artist Grammy loss — Pete Wentz calls it the”most narcissistic song on the album.” The chorus, “Fix me in forty-five,” is a nod to the length of a therapy session.
• As promised, the album’s first single, “This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race,” is a big departure from the band’s previous work: Verses are driven by a thumping dance beat that sounds like nothing in FOB’s catalog, complete with a sampled kick drum. The chorus shifts into a more typical punk-rock double time, and the song ends with a choir’s worth of voices singing the insistent, Gary Glitter-style hook.The lyrics, which include the line “Bandwagon’s gone, please find another,” express Wentz’s frustration at being king of the ever-growing emo scene. “There may be other songs on the record that would be bigger radio hits, but this one had the right message,” says Wentz, adding that the song-closing sing-along was inspired by Justin Timberlake’s “Senorita.”
• Other sonic departures include the horn-and-piano-powered “Truth Hurts Worse,” and the Babyface-produced “Thnks fr th Mmrs” which features the group sleekest vocal harmonies and most exotic arrangements to date. Not to mention some odd instrument choices. “I never thought I’d get a euphonium onto a Fall Out Boy record,” says Stump.