by Alyssa Tebbs
Las Vegas based rock group is ever evolving and reinventing itself. With every album released they seem to surprise fans and do a complete 360° and master a whole new and exciting sound. Panic’s newest album, Death of a Bachelor was released January 15, 2016. With featured singles Emperor’s New Clothes and Victorious it does not look to be a disappointment.
Panic! was founded in 2004 by childhood friends Ryan Ross, Spencer Smith, Brent Wilson and Brendon Urie. They started a band in high school and released their first album, A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out. Soon after which they quickly picked up hype with the top ten lead single, “I Write Sins Not Tragedies.” The album eventually was certified double platinum in the US in 2006.
They followed that album in 2008 with a completely different sound. Inspired by The Beatles, the Zombies and the Beach Boys, they released Pretty.Odd. in 2008. This new sound showed the versatility of the band. In 2011 the band was back to their initial Vaudevillian pop punk roots in Vices & Virtues and shortly after in 2013 they followed up with Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die! Recently they released their fifth album Death of a Bachelor which went worldwide on January 15, 2016.
Over the years band members seemed to drop one by one as Ryan Ross and bassist Jon Walker cut ties with Panic! after the release of the band’s second album, Pretty.Odd. Spencer Smith left earlier last year, leaving the band composed of just lead singer Brendon Urie. With the album being his first solo release, it’s a reflection of not only his own creative thought, but you see a bit more of Brendon and into his head. Urie released to ET News, “This is just a signal of a new era where I’m finding myself as a producer and as a songwriter.” He continues, “and just figuring out how to come into my own still, which is really exciting.”
The album opens with upbeat song Victorious followed by Don’t Threaten Me with a Good Time. Not only are these songs catchy but they reflect influential artists Queen and Daft Punk.The next song is Hallelujah, which was the first song released in April of 2015. This is a different song and features a gospel choir which also started the hype leading into the new album. While it’s still catchy, it goes a little slower than other intro songs, but it varies in tempo and melody.
Emperor’s Clothes has been the fan favorite as it features a similar sound to something from first album, A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out, but with more of a jazzy tone. The next song really slows things down a lot. Song Death of a Bachelor, shares a name with the album. The song carries a lounge jazz feel, but has a sassy feel once you reach the chorus. Brendon admitted it was inspired by Frank Sinatra but once he reached a plateau, he was listening to Beyoncé a lot and that kind of inspired creating a new sound for the song. The Jazz beat continues throughout Crazy=Genius, but revives the California nostalgic feel from the beginning as it leads into L.A. Devotee.
L.A. Devotee transports you into the essence that is L.A. as he shows off his impressive vocal range and shamelessly adds lyrics like, “Drinking white wine in the blushing light,” and “Static palms melt your vibes.” Brendon also reveals that L.A. Devotee is one of his favorite tracks on the album. “It’s a love song about L.A. I’ve been here for almost seven years now and it’s so cool to think about how far I’ve come as an individual and as an artist,” he explains. “There’s a line in there – ‘the black magic of Mulholland Drive’ – I’m just describing my favorite scenes of L.A. – things that I’ve done, friends I’ve been with – it’s a poem to L.A.” Golden Days which plays next follows the L.A. aura, but is slightly more dramatic as the melody often changes to add emphasis.
And the jazz returns featuring The Good the Bad and The Dirty, but doesn’t last long as it shifts to House of Memories. The album closes with slow song, Impossible Year which transports you back to album, Pretty. Odd. This power ballad truly brings out the Sinatra vibe Brendon was aiming for. It definitely does its job closing the album but there was not as much of a climax to the song as I would have wanted.
The album doesn’t end with a big bang like I would have expected, especially with the sounds of the previously released demo’s leading up to the album’s big release. Though they did do a good job showing versatility as listeners never get bored with the change of melody and style between songs; it truly kept you on your toes. This album does a good job reflecting back on previous albums and it incorporates different eras as well as showing they have matured both mentally and musically.
I have to say Brendon Urie did very well, and it seems like I’m not the only one who thinks so, he bumped David Bowie and Adele reaching No.1 with his first solo album. “That’s insane. I mean, to be in same sentence as anyone like that – I’m not worthy,” Urie released to the Reading Eagle, “I was just floored!” Selling 190,000 copies on the release date has been a huge accomplishment reached by this band. They soon after released a headlining tour for this summer with bands Weezer and Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness. Tickets are selling quickly; so hurry and get your tickets before it’s too late.