Panic! at the Disco: ‘Death of a Bachelor’


Panic! at the Disco: Death of a Bachelor

Panic! at the Disco’s fifth studio album, Death of a Bachelor could be considered frontman Brendon Urie’s tabula rasa, as he is now the only remaining original member and in complete control of the alternative rock band. Currently sitting atop Billboard’s Top 200 Album’s chart, Urie’s latest offering has been described as lyrically and thematically inspired by the singer and multi-instrumentalist’s two-year adjustment period to married life.

Although the 11-track set clocks in at a mere 36 minutes, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot to digest here. Death of a Bachelor jump starts with the cheerleader-like recitations of the hyperactive opening track “Victorious,” but quickly switches gears to the sobering lyrics of “Don’t Threaten Me with a Good Time.” The ode to over indulgence begins with a sample of “Rock Lobster” by The B-52’s, and finds Urie openly confessing: “Don’t think I’ll ever get enough / Champagne, cocaine, gasoline / And most things in between.”

We’re then plunged ears first into the jazzy refrains of the title track, which exudes sentimental reflections of leaving single life behind, then without warning we’re immersed into what sounds like an intimate conversation between Urie and his wife during “Crazy = Genius.” The referential Beach Boys homage allows us to be privy to Urie’s inner dialogue: “She said you’re just like Mike Love, but you’ll never be Brian Wilson / And I said if crazy equals genius then I’m a fucking arsonist / I’m a rocket scientist.”

Omnipresent lyrical avowals coupled with a multitude of contrasting musical styles, Death of a Bachelor ultimately sounds like the aural equivalent of Queen and Sinatra doing a mountain of cocaine-manic, but in an acutely engaging way. The album’s artful combination of youthful confessions and various proclamations of debauchery, all coalesce to make a peculiarly eclectic, yet decidedly gratifying album.

As the last man standing in a band that previously existed as a quartet, Urie ironically manages to create an album that ironically sounds the most like the band’s 2005 debut, almost begging listeners to ponder if perhaps Brendon Urie has been the dominant force of the band all along?


Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot


It’s that time of year again when we find ourselves stretched between the realms of the past, present, and future. But before moving forward, it only seems fitting to consider those brilliantly talented souls we lost in 2015.

Sadly, the music world had to say goodbye to: country singer Lynn Anderson, British pop vocalist Cilla Black, soulful songstress Natalie Cole, gospel singer-songwriter-choir director Andraé Crouch, Grand Ole Opry icon Little Jimmy Dickens, Lesley “It’s My Party” Gore, Motörhead leader Lemmy Kilmister, legendary blues singer/guitarist B.B. King, prominent Nashville producer Billy Sherrill, soul legend Percy Sledge, and the inimitable frontman of Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver, Scott Weiland, just to name a few. They may be gone, but their momentous musical contributions will be eternal.

Although it’s painful to accept those who are no longer with us, a new year allows us to gleam into the future with great eagerness of what is yet to come. This year promises thrilling new releases from David Bowie (January 8), Panic! at the Disco (January 15), Elton John (February 5), Radiohead, The Cult, Green Day, Lady Gaga, Nine Inch Nails, Katy Perry, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Gwen Stefani, Rooney, and Lucinda Williams.

So here’s to a new year, new music, and making new memories in 2016.

At the Closing of the Year


As we say goodbye to 2013 with all too fresh memories of Miley Cyrus’ embarrassing raunch, the aural overkill of Lorde’s “Royals,” and the over saturated blandness of Katy Perry still lingering about, we can only look ahead with hope that 2014 will redeem this year’s failures.

The beginning of a new year always seems exhilarating as it promises a fresh start and a renewed faith that things can only get better. Looking into the not so distant future we can expect new releases from U2, a return to alternative pop from Tori Amos (after her last three classical infused releases), Cher’s final farewell and last hurrah (Dressed to Kill Tour), and after an extended absence from live performing, cerebral shit stirrer Lady Gaga returns to the touring scene with her upcoming artRAVE: The ARTPOP Ball Tour.

Although too much time was wasted during the past few months on less than triumphant spectacles and dashed expectations, 2013 managed to deliver some great musical moments including David Bowie’s return with The Next Day, Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience, Cher’s first album in 12 years, Closer to the Truth, Eminem’s The Marshall Mathers LP 2, Christian Burns’ Simple Modern Answers, Panic! at the Disco’s Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die! and of course Lady Gaga’s heady party record ARTPOP. The year’s end also saw masterfully crafted seasonal offerings by Kelly Clarkson, Erasure, and Leona Lewis, all of which brought 2013 to a fitting and timely end.

With fingers crossed and musical palettes cleansed, let’s close out 2013 by taking a beat to remember how music makes us feel as it permanently finds its way into the soundtrack of our lives. As we prepare to leap forward into a new year, let’s hope our high expectations of better days to come are fulfilled in 2014.

Panic! at the Disco: ‘Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die!’

Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die!

Panic! at the Disco’s fourth full-length Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die! is as eclectic and diverse as anything we could’ve imagined, which was hinted at by the soulful lead single tease of “Miss Jackson.” Of course, by now we’ve learned to expect nothing less than the unexpected out of the quirky alternative band from Las Vegas. The group’s latest effort is noticeably inspired and shaped by Sin City’s gritty darkness as much as its glitz and glamour, hence it seems only fitting the album’s title is taken from Hunter S. Thompson’s novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

While the variety of tracks appear to be an extremely dissimilar assortment at first, lead singer Brendon Urie’s deeply personal and introspective lyrics thematically tie them all together. The album’s shockingly honest and confessional subject matter ranges from recalling tales of youthful promiscuity (“Miss Jackson”) to reflections of late night clubbing (“Vegas Lights”). Then there’s the perplexing “Girl That You Love,” rumored to be about former band member Ryan Ross, in which where Urie declares “Drop every pretense/Drown every sense you own/Insistent pretext/So what does that make God/To the girl that you love.”

Teeming with melodic hooks and reflective lyrics, Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die! is both hypnotic (the lingering closer “The End of All Things”) and beguiling (Far Too Young to Die” and second single “This Is Gospel”). Also worth noting are the two extra bonus tracks (“Can’t Fight Against the Youth” and “All the Boys”) featured on Target’s exclusive deluxe disc version, both of which merit foregoing the digital download route.

© 2013 ForASong Media, LLC

Panic! At The Disco: ‘Vices & Virtues’

Vices & Virtues is the eagerly anticipated third album from avant-garde alt-rockers Panic! at the Disco. It’s the follow-up to their 2008 sophomore effort Pretty.Odd, and their first since the departure of former chief lyricist Ryan Ross and bassist Jon Walker, leaving lead vocalist Brendon Urie and drummer Spencer Smith to fend for themselves. After many had written the band off, curious eyes and ears have been eagerly awaiting the band’s next career move.

As it turns out, the former band members’ departure wasn’t as detrimental as fans may have feared. Vices & Virtues combines the best and most memorable elements of Panic! at the Disco’s previous two full-length releases, and the end result is their catchiest and most accessible effort to date. The album’s theme revolves around good versus bad, while each of the 10 tracks contain at least one of multiple vices (including lust, greed, and anger), and explores the contrast between darkness and light throughout its duration.

Produced by Butch Walker, (All-American Rejects, The Academy Is, Weezer), and John Feldman, (Goldfinger, The Used, Story of the Year), Vices & Virtues is full of lush string arrangements, various musical interludes, and multiple layers of background vocals, all of which ultimately make this a very theatrical and dramatic work of musical pop art.

Front man Brendan Urie takes over lyrical duties successfully and confidently. The habitually contrived pretentiousness of Ryan Ross’ often disaffected riddle-like limericks are noticeably absent, but that doesn’t mean clever lyrics aren’t to be found here. Urie demonstrates his own knack for writing crafty phrases such as “Mona Lisa wear me out I’m pleased to please you/I’d pay to see you frown/There’s nothing wrong with just a taste of what you paid for,” which he delivers with dynamic vocal cadence in the hit lead-off single “The Ballad of Mona Lisa.” The insanely hummable chorus of the upbeat “Memories,” may be the group’s most hook-laden tune to date, and sounds as if it has the potential for crossing musical genres boundaries and introduce Panic! to new audiences. “Oh memories where’d you go/You were all I’ve ever known/How I miss yesterday and how I let it fade away,” Urie sings with an irresistible combination of remorse and buoyancy.

The second half of the program begins with the dance-like beat of “Ready To Go (Get Me Out of My Mind),” which sounds like it borrows a page from The Killers’ catalog of hits, before abruptly shifting musical gears and segueing into the acoustic ballad “Always,” which is performed in the sparsely produced style of Plain White T’s “Hey There Delilah.” And of course, no Panic! album would be complete without an eclectic musical theater number, found here in “Sarah Smiles,” a song Urie wrote to impress his girlfriend. “ I was fine, just a guy living on my own/Waiting for the sky to fall/Then you called, changed it all, doll/Velvet lips, the eyes to pull me in/We both know you’d already win/Oh you’re original sin,” Urie laments in this personal love letter.

The album concludes with the hauntingly odd “Nearly Witches,” that includes the strangely memorable line “Ever since we met, I only shoot up with your perfume/It’s the only thing that makes me feel as good as you do,” complete with children’s choir. The track ultimately concludes with the repeated refrain “Mona Lisa pleased to please you,” which brings us back full circle to the set’s opener, “The Ballad of Mona Lisa.”

Vices & Virtues is a multi-faceted piece of work that is Panic! at the Disco’s most thematically cohesive and polished collection of uniquely eccentric, but meticulously crafted songs to date. It’s a multi-layered musical eargasm without a dud anywhere on its track list. Fervent fans will want to invest the time and effort required to seek out the six extra tracks found on various deluxe versions of the album.

© 2011 ForASong Media, LLC