By Bryanna McDermott | The Duquesne Duke
Panic! At the Disco brought a full circus to the punk pop scene with their first hit single, cult classic “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” in 2005. The track earned the band not just a MTV Video Music Award for Video of the Year, but a place in the hearts of rebellious teenagers across the globe. Over a decade later, the band released its fifth studio album “Death of a Bachelor” on January 15. There’s no circus this time, but it’s the first album that truly represents the theatrical spirit of “A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out,” even while exploring a new pop sound.
“It’s a beginning to a new era. And a homage to how it all began,” reflected Brendon Urie, front man and sole remaining member of Panic! on his Facebook page.
Written before Urie’s wedding three years ago, “Death of a Bachelor” is a tribute to not only his wife Sarah, but to the man he was before marriage and the man he is today. Without three of the four original members, Urie gets to be the ringmaster of his fandom’s circus and takes full creative control of the band. “DOAB” sticks to the Panic! tradition of not fitting into one genre and incorporates many of Urie’s idols, including rock band Queen and smooth crooner extraordinaire Frank Sinatra.
The eleven track album is very much an evolution of Panic! At the Disco, as it is the story of Urie’s maturation through the process. The album begins with the infectious pop jams “Victorious,” co-written by Alexander DeLeon of The Cab and “Don’t Threaten Me with a Good Time.” Both tracks are representative of P!ATD’s early years when they reached celebrity status as wild teenagers, partying heavily and indulging in designer drugs. Despite lackluster lyrics, the catchy choruses and heavy guitar backdrops make these tracks perfect for radio and club play.
The gospel-rock hit “Hallelujah” follows, which became Panic!’s second top-forty hit single behind “I Write Sins Not Tragedies”. The track reflects the modern rock beat from “Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die!”, but also brings the nostalgic carnival-esque sounds from their first album, “A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out.”
Both “Crazy=Genius” and “LA Devotee” hold rigid jazz influences, complete with full horn sections and playful drum lines. The burlesque sound is reminiscent of Panic!’s earlier hit “But it’s Better if You Do,” while creating catchy choruses and upbeat rhythms. The exciting, fast-paced tracks make listeners want to toss some dice across a Las Vegas craps table.
The album’s title track and “Impossible Year” are very much an ode to Frank Sinatra as Urie slows it down to show he can do it all. “Death of a Bachelor” mixes soft smooth jazz with Urie’s self-proclaimed “Beyoncé beats” to create a track devoted to the end of his days as a ladies’ man. “Impossible Year” proves to be the perfect ending to the album with pure simplicity. Strip away Urie’s soft lyrics of loneliness while in love, and it’s just piano, bass, and soothing horns. The track winds down the album slowly, as listeners reflect on the journey Urie has taken.
Despite receiving poor reviews from Rolling Stone and The Guardian, fans adored “Death of a Bachelor.” The album shot to number one on iTunes almost immediately after release while “Victorious” was iTunes’ number one song right in front of Drake’s “Hotline Bling.”
From the powerful vocals to the accompanying instruments, “DOAB” is a piece of Urie and a refreshing new chapter in Panic!’s history. The emo hair sweep and flashy circus costume may be gone, but Brendon Urie and “Death of a Bachelor” ensure fans the fate of Panic! at the Disco is in good hands.