Oldies Inspired Pop Rock with Falsetto Sound
By Lucia Rossi
Panic! at the Disco has evolved with every album release and has reached the end of its rope with their fifth album “Death of a Bachelor,” released on January 15, 2016.
The struggle is certainly real when the only member is Brendon Urie who composes, writes, sings, and plays every instrument in the band. So instead of going solo, Urie choose to continue on as kind of a one man band.
Urie pulls through however, by throwing in interesting genre mixes, a homage to Frank Sinatra, and songs about the bitter sweetness of letting go of singlehood and entering a married life. It’s a follow up to their fourth album “Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die!” You can see the transition of the albums from watching the music video of “This is Gospel” right into “Emperor’s New Clothes.”
Urie continues to blend hip-hop, jazz, rock and pop in this album successfully because it was complimented by his powerhouse voice. Although, some songs are repetitive and similar in their styles and beats. The use of horns was definitely apparent and taken advantage of in many of the songs.
“Death of a Bachelor” has two songs that allude to Frank Sinatra because Urie stated on social media that, “I attach his music to so many memories.” He also admitted that, “even in the few songs that don’t sound remotely similar to any of his music, I still felt his influence in the writing and the need to relate so personally to each song.”
The two songs that reflect Sinatra’s style and memory with Urie’s emo yet flirty touch are “Impossible Year,” and “Death of a Bachelor.”
The song “Death of a Bachelor” has familiar notes of Sinatra’s deep voice but this pop-like, cheerful beat that shows this great connection between classic and modern. The song represents the bitter sweetness of leaving behind the single partying lifestyle for the “happily ever after” of married life. This is especially shown in the lyrics, “A lifetime of laughter at the expense of the death of a bachelor.” This song has possibly the most beautiful high notes in the entire album.
“Impossible Year” however, is the saddest Sinatra-like song you have ever heard. It’s like a New Year’s celebration with severe depression. Even though it got really emo, it was still classical and soothing. It even had a short interlude of just trumpets playing. The song was sadly short as well, and describes a year in a quite horrible relationship.
“Death of a Bachelor” as an album was lyrically inspired by Urie’s wife Sarah and his lifestyle with being a newlywed man, which is so different from how it used to be for him. The song “Hallelujah” struck me as a song about living a life of partying but then realizing it’s time to settle down and change. The music represents this through a religious lens and wouldn’t be complete without a church choir.
“Golden Days” also seemed to fit into his theme because it talks about looking back into the past but the ‘golden days’ are the ones you spend growing with the one you love. “We’ll stay drunk, We’ll stay tan, let the love remain,” sang Urie in the song.
“Victorious” and “Don’t Threaten Me With a Good Time,” are definitely your party tracks. “Victorious” is very addictive and fun with rhymes that could replay in your head for what feels like forever. “Don’t Threaten Me With a Good Time,” is interesting because it has the guitar riff from the B-52’s “Rock Lobster.”
“Emperor’s New Clothes,” is possibly the darkest, most out of place song on the album but it is also one of the best. It brought back the old Panic! at the Disco style that has creepy and weird undertones but is still invigorating with crazy high notes and catchiness. It even has lyrics inspired from “The Sandlot”, “Heroes always get remembered but you know legends never die.”
Other songs like “House of Memories,” “The Good, The Bad, and the Dirty,” and “Crazy = Genius,” are songs that seemed to bring down the album because they seemed shallow, empty, and very repetitive. They didn’t really have deeper meanings to them and that was somewhat disappointing. I would put “LA Devotee” on the list if it wasn’t for its beautiful descriptive lyrics.
When it all comes down to it, I believe Brendon Urie did the Panic! at the Disco name proud. After all, this is his time to really shine and the spotlight was always on him the most. He has clearly shown his growth as an artist and challenged himself by identifying with a style that seemed far from his but owned it with his killer composition and voice.
I’ll try not to be too upset about the death of Urie’s bachelorhood while I listen.