This Panic! At The Disco article was written by Jamie Muir, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Zara Heath.
How many times can you reinvent the wheel? For Panic! At The Disco, a decade has passed since they first burst into frame with their ambitious debut album, ‘A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out’ that captured the hearts and minds of romanticised teens around the globe. It’s limitless scope and influences marked a breath of fresh air in a diluted and stale pop-punk scene which by 2006, was as uninspiring as Saturday night television. For Panic!, its success marked a double-edged sword, and aspiring to those heights has remained a life’s work for the ever-dwindling Las Vegas gamblers. 2013’s ‘Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die’ was a refreshing return to form, soaked in oozing electronica and moody vibrations to create one of the most accomplished releases of their career, teasing greater things to come. In 2016, front man Brendon Urie stands as the last remaining creative force, and it’s within his vision and mind that we find ‘Death Of A Bachelor’ – a record that pulls no punches in its unashamed swagger and style, and in turn, creating a bold, unrelenting journey into the mind of a theatrical madman.
Urie’s new found solo status has without a doubt unhinged the crooning pin-up and free from the shackles of expectations or creative unions, he comes out swinging with a direct and formidable platter of eclectic anthems. The pounding pop pulse of singles ‘Victorious’ and ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’ are undeniable in their infectious hooks, perfectly sculpted weapons that leave no questions surrounding the ferocious intent of their creator. It’s a formula that continues through ‘Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time’ and the brass-bravado of ‘LA Devotee’, unrelenting in their desire to charm the socks off your feet but at the same time ferociously delivered, bouncing around at such a pace that you wonder how Urie was ever able to keep it within his own mind for so long.
Drawing influences from a never-ending list of genres and vocalists, ‘Death Of A Bachelor’’s title track exudes the personality of a Frank Sinatra/big band cut, laid over decadent beats that showcase the unmatched vocal prowess that Urie has become synonymous for. It’s an influence that breathes throughout the record, not only musically but idealistically as a state of mind, unwilling to be constrained and boxed into one genre, it’s the sound of a man creating the exact record that is playing in his own mind. It lives through album closer ‘Impossible Year’, a cinematic snapshot that laments how “these nightmare always hang on past the dream” and would sit perfectly on any big band record of the past 50 years. Through a stunning arrangement and mesmerising vocal performance, it stands as a undeniable moment on the entire record.
Yet, whilst jumping around like a frog in a sock from genre to genre, tracks such as ‘House Of Memories’, ‘The Good, The Bad And The Dirty’ and ‘Golden Days’ stand slightly lackluster under the gaze of such experimentation and confidence seen elsewhere, returning to that middle ground and becoming all too forgettable. Like a cut from a new Jungle Book film, ‘Crazy = Genius’ can at times be grating, with more jazz hands and showbiz than anyone can handle, especially paired with lyrics such as “you’re just like Mike Love but you want to be Brian Wilson”. For all the good such smashing of creative boundaries has done, at times that energy seems to get the better of Urie.
Aside from the odd misstep, ‘Death Of A Bachelor’ takes no prisoners in it’s scope and intent. Never has a Panic! record sounded so bold and aggressive, confident in it’s own skin and pulsating with pop anthem after pop anthem, yet free to explore ground that no other record could of. For ambition and size, Urie must be applauded for once again reinventing Panic! At The Disco as a relevant name in modern music, and whether you like it or not, ‘Death Of A Bachelor’ will ensure a rapid fan base remains devoted to it’s modern day pop messiah.
‘Death of a Bachelor’ is out now via Fueled By Ramen.