Photo: Consequence of Sound
Five albums in and alt-pop rock ensemble Panic! At The Disco is still holding strong – albeit with only one founding member remaining. P!ATD has become the Brendon Urie project – but maintaining the name of the band that catapulted his career means holding true to a certain caliber of musicality, equal parts techno-theatricality and rollicking rock anthems. While “Bachelor” features most aspects of the standard Panic! tonal vernacular, it seems to fall a little more flat than the group’s previous efforts.
The amped up single (co-written by Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo) is a kick to the face for an opening track – and catchy as all can get. It’s fast-paced and fun, with a breakdown before the chorus that builds into an epic crescendo worthy of all stereo-blaring Saturday nights. This is easily one of the standout tracks on the record.
- “Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time”
When you start with a sample of The B-52s “Rock Lobster,” it’s pretty much a given that you’re in for quite the track. While this song is catchy, it doesn’t have a tonal sparkle that makes it standout as much.
The first single off of the album features muted horns and the vague essence of a gospel choir. The song grows on you with its building groove and the synonymous swagger that comes with it.
- “Emperor’s New Clothes”
Maybe it’s the creepy music video that has me a bit apprehensive on this song (see above), but the combination of sinister and synth-pop works for a while…until you realize that you just don’t really ~get~ this song (at least, I didn’t). It’s a lot at once, but somehow still indistinguishable. But Brendon hits quite the note and adjacent run about two-thirds in, so props for that.
- “Death of a Bachelor”
The title track shows Urie tuning in to his inner Sinatra with syncopated beats layered overtop. It has the essence of classic vocal prowess reminiscent of Ol’ Blue Eyes and it fits into the millennial mix of tech-driven sounds that make up the song. It’s Urie’s voice that makes this song – it’s a nice fit for his impressive range and allows him to hone in on combining all of the genres that make up his sound.
Part swing, part rockabilly and altogether too much, this track is more of the first half of that title. There’s a lot going on here and, to this listener, it just seems a little too messy. I’m all for experimenting with layers and combinations of sounds, but this may be one of those tracks that needs to grow on me a bit before becoming a soundtrack standard.
- “L.A. Devotee”
Sparkling with just enough glitter to outweigh the grit, this energetic track is my favorite on the record. The verses build into a fantastically aerodynamic chorus, and Urie’s falsetto flies note for note. It’s a cleaner, more polished sound than most of the record, but it’s just too good to ignore. Blast this one loud, guys – I have been for weeks.
- “Golden Days”
Darker and tempo-driven, the verses don’t warn you adequately of the powerhouse chorus, where Urie’s voice soars over the low-riding vocals that are prominent throughout the song. Listen for yourself – kids, don’t try this note at home. Consult your doctor before belting your face off.
- “The Good, The Bad And The Dirty”
Gotta have that intro chant – the “ooh-ohs” segue into a more rollicking track that leads into a jam-based chorus. This is another song that may have to grow on me, but it has enough essence of Panic! to keep me interested.
- “House of Memories”
Another intro chant aside, this melody has a bit more intrigue – the slightly eerie tone sets the haunting vibe that the song is presenting. It’s a poppy rocker that fits into the standard P!ATD vibe – slightly strange but hell, let’s dance to it anyway.
- “Impossible Year”
Closing out the record with a true slow-driven ballad, this song truly showcases Urie’s (I’ll say it again) impressive vocals. His range and his growth as a vocalist throughout the band’s over 10 year career has been one of the grounding factors in my love of this group. With tracks like this closing out a record that is surprisingly not as ground-shaking as I expected, I can hold true to my enjoyment of a band/frontman not afraid to mix genres, instruments, sounds, vibes, and the like.
Dig what you hear or what you read? Listen to “Death of a Bachelor” on Spotify and catch the band on tour with Weezer (!!!) and Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness this summer!