Panic! At The Disco, an American rock band from Las Vegas formed in 2004, briefly known for deciding to eliminate their ‘!’ exclamation point – which failed miserably – and perhaps also known as one of the ‘emo rock’ bands of the 2000s. Well, they’re still going strong as a trio despite many line-up changes, and they currently consist of lead singer Brendon Urie, drummer Spencer Smith and bass guitarist Dallon Weekes. Whilst not quite on par with ‘Vices and Virtues’ in my opinion, which was released in 2011, new album ‘Too Weird To Live Too Rare To Die’ is a fine example of Panic!’s ability to constantly adapt and grow as a band. It might even be suggested that they’ve taken a leaf out of their friends Fall Out Boy’s book, with their more chart-friendly approach to music. In fact, after the departure of Ross and Walker, Urie was quoted as saying he wanted to take a more ‘pop’ approach to music – which is clearly evident in this latest creation.
The two tracks released before the album, ‘Miss. Jackson’ and ‘This Is Gospel’, have been relatively successful in the charts, and were definitely lodged in my brain almost immediately. Although I’ll admit, when I saw they’d released a song called ‘Miss. Jackson’, a little part of me hoped they’d decided to do a cover of Outkast. Sadly not, but ‘Miss. Jackson’ is certainly catchy and led to my boyfriend, a closet hipster and convert to the P!ATD cause, humming it around the house for days.
Admittedly, some tracks on the album sound like they belong in some terrible European song competition (just kidding, I love Eurovision) – but to me that’s always been a part of Panic!’s charm. For example ‘Nicotine’, despite having a ridiculously cheesy thumping club vibe going on, has some amazing lyrics and is definitely bettered by Urie drawling “’cause your love’s a fucking drag”. ‘Vegas Lights’ as well, probably influenced by the band members experiences growing up in Nevada, is one of my favourite songs on the new album for reasons that I can’t quite explain. Perhaps it’s the idea that villains like to take a mini-break at the weekend to Vegas.
‘Girls/Girls/Boys’ is another interesting track that I didn’t expect to like, but it has a certain sexy edge, as well as probably being quite popular due to its lyric “girls love girls and boys, and love is not a choice”. Perhaps it’s the sultry bass, or Urie’s dulcet tones that makes the track ooze sex appeal, who knows, and who cares? Lead singer Brendon Urie has had his sexuality questioned for years, until he recently tied the knot to secret long-term girlfriend Sarah Orzechowski. However, before then, it was not uncommon for P!ATD fans to write an awful lot of fan fiction about Urie and band mate Ryan Ross – who allegedly left under suspicious circumstances.
Anyway, Girls/Girls/Boys is one of those songs that will have you singing it for days, and includes the raunchy treat of Urie paying homage to rapper D’Angelo, by oiling up and parading naked in the video. I heartily recommend it.
Overall, Too Weird To Live Too Rare To Die is a winner for me, on all accounts. The only things I dislike about the album is that there aren’t more tracks. I also can’t help but feel that the band have become extremely Urie-centric, with the other two members taking a bit of a back seat. However, the man is beautiful, so there’s really not much to complain about. My only regret is that I didn’t bother to buy tickets for their UK tour this autumn/winter, a regret I will simply have to live with.
In conclusion, some music snobs and irritating ‘true’ fans might call Panic!’s adjusted sound “selling out”, I prefer to think of it as the band choosing to leave behind their days of questionable eyeliner and grow up a little. We all have to do it sometime after all. Although don’t expect me to go deleting ‘Lying Is The Most Girl A Fun Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off’ from my iTunes any time soon.