Back with their fifth studio album, American pop punk band ‘Panic! At The Disco’ have kept in trends of the revivals of similar bands from their era such as Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance. The thing that sets this album apart from traditional ‘Panic!’ work is that there is only one original band member left, frontman Brendon Urie; who is renowned for his diverse and extravagant vocal range. It has been a highly anticipated album to see the direction in which Urie would go, especially considering the band’s ability to add variety and make no album sound the same.
Cheerleader style chant at the start, suits the song title. Strained vocal by Brendon Urie in the verse and chorus. Limited lyrics in the chorus but the change in chords and style creates an alternate sound to that of the verse and it works well. Lyrically speaking, the song appears to be describing a party by “living like a washed up celebrity.” Don’t like the cheerleader chant of being “victorious” and it brings the song as a whole down, other than that a very solid start to the album.
Dont Threaten Me With A Good Time- 6.5/10
Softer track on the verse with the renowned variety of Urie’s voice on show for all. Stark contrast to the chorus as the lyrics also imply a lift in mood and style. “Champagne, cocaine, gasoline, and most things inbetween” demonstrates this as he states how heavy the party is going to be. Very similar to their debut album with the guitar riff reminiscent of a western soundtrack. Catchy hook on the chorus but as a whole it’s just a bit average.
The start sounds like a perfect song for an advert for Las Vegas. Song sparks into life with chorus that repeats ‘hallelujah’ within the quite bland lines. Does have a nice intention of enjoying the moment and telling everyone, even the “sinners” to embrace. The verses are a bit more negative however and bring up being lonely and having nobody who cares for you; which is a nice use of irony by Urie. Not a huge fan of this song to be honest, a bit dull.
Emperor’s New Clothes- 9.5/10
YES. I’m in love with this song. It’s passion beyond normality as he sings like a sadistic man in the verse before unleashing pure energy and screaming all over the place. The work of a crazed maniac but the end result is genius. “Taking back the crown” continues to be sung in the chorus implying he is back to be where he rightfully belongs at the top of that particular genre. It’s hard to disagree with him when he releases songs like this. As the song title suggests, calling himself an ‘Emperor’, Brendon Urie announces that with the revival of punk rock in music, there won’t be anyone better than him, as far as he is concerned anyway; I admire the guy’s confidence I really do and he back it up. The only thing I could complain about is that it isn’t that long, I wanted more.
Death Of A Bachelor- 8.5/10
What a difference one song makes. Much slower pace with a modern twist on a 1950s style Jazz sound. The use of saxophones faintly throughout the song works brilliantly as it provides a mellow and modest mix with Urie’s vocal range, which once again is top draw. Speaking of Brendon Urie, he lyrically matches the style of the instrumental, using terminology of that time period and linking it to a love song in which he describes finding love worth it “at the expense of the death of a bachelor.” Not quite sure what’s going on with the bridge of the song, which I sounds a little bit like the noise made when you died on an old school Mario game. Other than that, it’s good. Really good. His best vocal performance of this album easily, arguably of his career.
Keeps this element of swing in this song as the horns remain and he sings with a stuttered tones which changes pace often. You could picture him singing this song walking down the street in a top hat and tweed suit while snapping his fingers. I love the transition into the chorus as it turns into more of a classic punk rock sound that Panic! are known for. The lyrics are also fantastic and full of attitude. “If Crazy equals genius, then I’m a f***ing arsonist, a rocket scientist” shows his arrogant side along with a small element of comedy. This repeated lyric of setting yourself on fire but never burning is a metaphor describing how hot his music is and how current and relevant the band continue to be. Upbeat, cool, and cheeky. Just a great song.
LA Devotee- 9/10
He’s done it again. Another blinding song that works magnificently with the diverse sounds produced all over this album. Sounds incredibly similar to the sort of music Panic! produced in their debut album and fans will really enjoy that nostalgia trip. “Sun sets on the evil eye” is a great lyric used in the chorus to keep this positivity involved and teach people to show off their good side more than their evil side. The idea of being “just another LA Devotee” is used to show a girl who is obsessed with the lavish lifestyle Los Angeles has to offer. However, the twist on this song suggests that the word “Devotee” is used in slight to criticise those who choose to infatuate themselves with LA, basically referring to them as stale and that they lack depth. This is very clever and an interesting concept to an already fantastic song.
Golden Days- 7/10
Contrast of soft, whispering vocal in pre-chorus and the punk style guitar riff works really well and ensures listeners that this song is going to have a particular style. This style is shown off to full effect in the chorus itself as Urie raises the tone of his voice and creates a sound like that of a Good Charlotte or Blink-182 hit in their prime. The repetition of “golden days” does get very boring and by the end of it you’re glad the song is over really. Old school fans will like this but it won’t attract any new fans any time soon. Massive step down from previous tracks on the album.
The Good, The Bad and The Dirty- 6.5/10
The lyrics in this song describe how Brendon has been perceived throughout his music career. It’s used as an inspirational message to his fans to fight what they believe in and never give up on their end goals. This is evident in the chorus by the fight connotations, implying that “you better throw the first punch and make it a good one”. Not a lot to this song instrumentally really but I think that was intentional as the subliminal message of the lyrics is more important. An okay track with a decent message for fans to follow but I’m quite glad it isn’t very long because you tire of it very quickly.
House of Memories- 5.5/10
Variation of pitch and tone on his vocals is an effective tool. It’s massively required because there is really nothing to this track, it all seems identical from start to finish apart from the occasional tone change. Lyrically discusses the idea of fantasy and mystery in an attempt to remind himself of his youth and that make believe world children tend to live in. Saying him and this girl built a “house of memories” together and he wants to have a place in her metaphorical house which is actually her mind and memory. Probably the worst song on the album for me but that’s mainly because it doesn’t alter from verse to chorus and I have no idea why because the verse chords are boring as it is.
Impossible Year- 7.5/10 (the placement of this song gets a 500/10 though)
Soft piano and Brendon’s vocal to end the album. With this slow song comes very depressing lyrics and a strong use of every GCSE English students’ favourite term, pathetic fallacy. As everything gets worse in life, the weather follows this trend and gets worse. Just pours his heart out over the piano and shows off every inch of his vocal ability. Fantastic vocally and I like how he compliments just a soft piano instrumental but all seems a bit soul destroying considering the general positivity of the rest of the album. But, the reason he has done this is for one reason and it’s the reasoning of a genius. The whole album portrays the often disputed case of mystery and fantasy. For the most part this fantasy world works brilliantly for Urie as he lives positively and creates uplifting songs. What he realises is that this is real life, not a fantasy. As this realisation sinks in the concept of this song comes into fruition and a revelation that the world isn’t actually that great a place dawns. Masterful ending when seen like that.
This is probably up there with debut album ‘A Fear You Can’t Sweat’ as far as quality goes. Shows once again the variety of Panic! and that they can continue to surprised fans with a new reinvented sound every single album while remaining true to that punk rock genre they started in. The middle section of the album saves what can only be described as an OK beginning and end. Four top quality songs that are all purposely placed together to bring the mood of the album up as a whole. The theme of a fantasy and make believe world is very good and positive but becomes 100x better when the last song dips back into the quite glum concept of reality. Good work, Brendon.