Jennifer Dill ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
A new era is beginning for Panic! At The Disco and their fans as the band has just dropped their newest album Death of a Bachelor.
Officially debuting January 15th, Panic! had been teasing the album over the course of a few months. First with a music video premiere of power anthem “Hallelujah” in July 2015, then with the leaking of the title track, “Death of A Bachelor,” releasing a lyric video for “Victorious,” and a subsequent music video for “Emperor’s New Clothes.”
In fact, by January 2nd, half of the album had already been released and available for download to those who pre-ordered it on iTunes.
While this didn’t leave many songs as a surprise, the album charted #1 on the iTunes charts the day of release and left many fans happily surprised.
But what about each song individually?
Panic! is known to have a wide variety of songs on each of their albums and an extensive range of genres but were each of their new songs victorious?
Don’t get me wrong. Brendon Urie’s vocals are out of this world, and his runs put all of us mortals to shame, but this song did not live up to its hype.
Starting with a chanting of female voices (similar to that of their previous single “Vegas Lights”) the song spends about 30 seconds trying to pump up the listener. You feel victorious, and are ready for whatever is about to come—and then Brendon starts singing some nonsense.
Killer kings? Guillotines? Punch drunk kiss? What are you trying to tell us Brendon? “Do you need a drink of water? Drink of wine?”
This theme of nonsensical lyrics is nothing new for Panic! fans. Since the band’s beginnings they have had excessive song titles, confusing lyrics and messages. But this song seems to be on a whole other plane.
But don’t worry Panic! fans. While upon first listen, this song is disappointing, it grows on you after a while. You get into the crazy words and the uptempo beat. (Or Brendon Urie is hypnotically seducing you through his vocals, but I mean, either way, you’re into it.) You begin to feel victorious and ready to take on whatever task is coming your way.
Tonight you ARE victorious.
- “Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time”
The first time I heard this, all I could think was of spy music and intense partying; two things that I don’t think should go together. Much like I didn’t believe this song belonged on this album or to Panic!
As I kept listening to it, I started to become more amused and enthralled by the sound. A lot of the lyrics seem to be reminiscent of Panic!’s older albums, videos, and songs. For example, he sings about losing his mind in a wedding gown and the great line “You should have seen me. I had a cane and a party hat,” both seeming to pay homage to the band’s first big hit: “I Write Sins Not Tragedies.”
While it is not my favorite song, I feel as though Brendon is using it as an ode to his crazy childhood. He grew up in the spotlight and is now singing about the death of his wild bachelor days. It’s his end of an era/goodbye song, and I have respect for that. Plus, the song is an excellent late-night party jam. Have a dance party in your room to this. You’ll feel revived.
(Also, you’ll want to see Brendon rocking those high heels he claims that he makes “work.”)
I remember the day “Hallelujah” came out. I was sitting in my dorm, listened to it once and dropped everything. How could Panic! do this to me. Where was their emo? Where was Ryan Ross? (Yeah, I’m still bitter about their breakup, okay?)
But, being the deeply devoted Panic! fan that I was, I kept listening to it, trying to give it a chance to redeem itself. And it did.
Quickly “Hallelujah” became the anthem of the band’s new era. Brendon was growing up, Panic! was evolving, and their sound was becoming more refined. Plus, I now had a great song to blast out of my car’s speakers.
As for the musical aspects of the song, it is one of the catchiest on the album. The beat is hypnotic, and it’s impossible not to want to clap along and sing gospel style. (This is gospel, after all.) Brendon’s vocals keep you enticed as the instrumental backing makes you want to dance.
Now, all you sinners stand up. Sing Hallelujah! (And help me come up with conspiracy theories about how this song is definitely about Ryro.)
- “Emperor’s New Clothes”
“Welcome to the end of eras…”
Brendon says it best here folks. As I hinted at earlier, Panic! is in a new era.
This is probably one of the catchiest songs on the album (the day I first heard it I listened to it on repeat approximately 2000x before I decided I was sick of it), and I fully believe that it is all about the band reclaiming their sound, coming back as a new and improved unit, minus many members.
One of the best parts of this single is the upbeat music and the backup vocals. Featuring a wide, yet creative, use of synthesizers and percussion, Panic! takes listeners on a journey through what I imagine Brendon’s mind is like: a rollercoaster full of emo and a deep seeded need to be the best. It also continues the trend of pumping fans up, encouraging them to go for the gold.
With lyrics like “I’m taking back the crown…so close I can taste it. See what’s mine and take it,” it’s clear that Panic! is back and ready to take over the alternative scene once more.
- “Death of a Bachelor”
If you didn’t know already, Brendon Urie idolizes Frank Sinatra.
Throughout the entire song, Urie’s vocals captivate. While it is softer and less party-themed than most of Panic! singles, this title track, is beyond impressive. In fact, upon first listen you may even think that it’s a Sinatra song. But alas, it is solely Urie serenading and crooning listeners like Mr. Sinatra himself.
Honestly, this song makes me happy for Brendon. While it is very different from past Panic! pieces, it is a great song. The entire piece talks about giving up partying and old crazy ways (the death of a bachelor) in exchange for a “happy ever after,” and a “lifetime of laughter.” It’s as though he is singing about how happy he is being married, and I must say, Sarah Urie is a lucky gal.
Alas, if you were looking for Panic! to produce another super punk-emo anthem, this is certainly not it.
- “Crazy = Genius”
This song is most definitely Panic!’s commentary on the craziness of the entertainment business.
Throughout the song, Brendon tells the tale of being compared to the greats (specifically Brian Wilson and Michael Jackson) yet not measuring up due to the lack of a certain element—a dash of craziness.
The horns supporting the various runs and shouts make this song almost sounds like a Disney Villain’s big musical number. It’s as if Brendon is Ursula telling us that we will not amount to our goals because we are missing a unique feature like Ariel was missing human legs. “You can set yourself on fire, but you’re never going to burn.”
But, despite the fact that it makes us all feel like we will not succeed, something about this song is catchy and hopeful. After all, Panic! is huge, so why can’t we be?
- “LA Devotee”
I fell in love with this song the first time I heard it. While it is so different from old Panic! it is so perfectly right for Brendon’s vocals.
The opening percussion gets listeners moving right off the bat, and the trumpets that come in behind the opening lyrics create this dark, jazzy vibe that makes you ready to jump up and dance.
Then there are the lyrics, which tell the life story of a person who moves out to LA and falls in love with the lifestyle of the rich and famous; all while vying for a bit of fame:
“Invisible to the Hollywood shrine, always on the hunt for a little more time, just another LA devotee.”
I think this story appeals to listeners because everyone has an LA dream, whether it be in LA or elsewhere. Everyone has a small desire for a bit of fame, or the life of luxury, and this song documents that struggle and the consequences that go with it.
It also is perfect for a dance party, which always makes for a great tune.
- “Golden Days”
This song is one of the most reminiscent on the album.
I don’t totally know what it’s about though it seems via lyrics and title to suggest a reflection on the past; I do know that I like listening to it.
But this song is not great only because of its lyrics but also because the musicianship is great.
With a driving bass line and an enticing trumpet solo that makes you wish you knew how to play near the end of the song, this is a tune that draws you into the instrumental parts more than into the lyrical parts.
In fact, it seems as though this song is an instrumental voyage through Panic!’s younger years coupled with lyrics to tell the story of the band’s past.
Starting with a heavy bass and some synth, the song is similar to that of Panic!’s earliest music. It then moves on to a strong guitar presence and solo vocals, much like their second album, Pretty. Odd. At about the halfway point the lyrics, the tone, and the background music begins to get heavier, much like the entirety of their later album, Vices and Virtues. Then, near the end, horns come into play, signifying the newer music Panic! has released. It is a journey through the many eras of Panic!.
- “The Good, the Bad, and the Dirty”
Most people start off the new year with the goal of going to the gym and getting fit. Keeping that in mind, this song is PERFECT for workouts where you want to kick butt.
Starting off with a chanting of “oh”s and then a bass line that makes you want to sway, the lead into the chorus is fantastic for pumping you up. You begin to get your head into it and then, Brendon delivers the punch.
“If you wanna start a fight, you better throw the first punch. Make it a good one.”
How could you not want to go kick ass after hearing that? He’s encouraging you to go be badass!
But in all seriousness, this song is one of the best on the album. The lyrics along with the instrumental jazzy undertone definitely get you moving and prep you for the big fight, even if that fight is just working up the energy to go to class.
- “House of Memories”
This song reminds me a lot of Panic!’s first album, A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out.
While the song does fit along with the theme of this album, telling a story about moving on while thinking about the past, and it features no original members of the band besides Brendon, something about the beat and the lyrics suggest that AFYCSO was in mind during the writing process.
Much like the songs on AFYCSO, “House of Memories” starts off with a groovy beat and then goes into hard hitting lyrics about the decaying of a relationship.
It seems almost as if the song is even referencing (as most of this album could be) the history of the band. It acknowledges moving on, but also hints at a desire to be remembered: “save me a place in your house of memories”.
This is completely up to speculation, however.
But what is not up for speculation is the fact that this song is somewhat hypnotizing. The instrumentals are soft and slow at times but somehow create an air of mystery and intrigue, keeping listeners entranced and ready for more.
However, despite the musical brilliance of this song, it is one of the weakest on the album if you are a fan of old Panic!. The chorus isn’t a powerful vocal show, and it is almost as if they wrote the song just to fill up another space on their album.
This may be one song you skip over when listening for a memorable tune.
- “Impossible Year”
“Impossible Year” is the power ballad of the album and is when Brendon Sinatra truly comes out to play.
Backed by a hauntingly beautiful piano and a small horn section, this song is a sad melodic tale of terrible people doing terrible things.
In fact, Brendon even sings that the year is full of “only heartache and heartbreak, and gin made of tears.”
Though the lyrics are sad and the song has a clearly dark aura, everything from the lyrics to the beat to the choice of backup vocals and instrumentation are flawless. The vocals are as perfect as ever and the song totally would make Mr. Sinatra proud.
But, it all leads me to ask: Brendon, who hurt you?