Album Review: Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die!

Panic! at the Disco has gone through some really tough changes over the past few years. After splitting with original members Ryan Ross and Jon Walker, lead singer Brendon Urie and drummer Spencer Smith continued the band’s legacy. But as Smith recently began rehabilitation for alcohol addiction, he left the sole duties of the band to Urie. I was extremely hesitant coming into the listening of Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die!; Urie proves on this record, however, that not only is he still a beast on vocals. He knows how to write a song and a melody to boot.

Be warned, the Panic! at the Disco that you know and love is gone on this record. Well, not completely. But the whole album is drawn mainly from electronic influence, which completely changes the sound of the band.

The opening track “This Is Gospel” proves to be one of the best tracks on the album. Starting with an electronic pulse, the track explodes with energy and urgency and has one of best choruses on the album.

The album really hits its stride at “Nicotine,” another glittery track that pours on the funk, with a great bass line and an infectious chorus. Next is “Girls/Girls/Boys,” a quirky little track that really cleverly plays on modern sexuality and gender.

The next three songs of the album are certainly the best of all. “Casual Affair” is one of my new favorite Panic songs. Beginning with a driving beat and an awesome electronic background, the chorus in this song is absolutely explosive. Guitars crash in, and Urie delivers perhaps the hookiest and best chorus of the album. This track is a must-listen for the fans.

“Far Too Young to Die” begins with an almost metronomic sound, and then pushes its way into the synth pop goodness that pervades the album. The hook in this track is also strong, with deep, booming bass and wonderful vocals from Urie.

“Collar Full” is a track that fans of somewhat older Panic! at the Disco will want to check out. It has a fast-paced beat very reminiscent of the band’s previous albums. Urie is in top form here and pulls out all the stops. The whole song simply works and is definitely among the best of the album. The verses are great, the chorus is wonderful and the pace and instrumentation are just top notch. Another must-listen for sure.

I am overall impressed and surprised by this album. Although it’s heavily electronically based and very different from previous albums, it’s still catchy as all hell. It has great lyrics and instrumentation over the backing soundscapes.

It has its own personality, which I think was Urie’s intention. It may not sound like the old stuff, but if you’re willing to accept the change and roll with the punches, I think you’re going to find an album that you may enjoy or even love.