Fans of Panic! at the Disco are well aware that the band’s sound has evolved dramatically over its decade of existence. For instance, the folky ambiance of their sophomore album Pretty. Odd is a great departure from their pop-punk debut A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out. Panic! at the Disco has also seen many members come and go. Notably, the band’s last album Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die! is the last in which drummer Spencer Smith appeared, leaving front man Brendon Urie as the only remaining original member of the band.
Because of the loss of Smith and the previous album’s disappointing lyrics and forgettable songs, I was apprehensive about the release of their fifth studio album Death Of A Bachelor on Jan. 15. I was pleasantly surprised, however, by Urie’s complex and memorable lyrics, vocal diversity and catchy instrumentals.
The album starts off strong with “Victorious.” It sets the mood for the rest of the album, building the feeling of power and excitement on a fun night out with lyrics like, “We gotta turn up the crazy/Living like a washed-up celebrity.”
The second track “Don’t Threaten Me with a Good Time” doesn’t disappoint, either. Beginning with a sample of The B-52’s “Rock Lobster,” its lyrics tell a story of waking up after a night of debauchery. The unique lyrics and explosive chorus are strongly reminiscent of the band’s debut album.
In the song “Emperor’s New Clothes,” Urie outdoes himself. The catchy line “finders keepers, losers weepers” that repeats throughout the track is sure to get stuck in the listener’s head. The chorus brings to mind ghosts and ghouls from “This is Halloween” from The Nightmare Before Christmas. It’s an interesting surprise that fits the song’s underlying dark vibe perfectly.
The album’s title track “Death of a Bachelor” immediately hooks you with its strong bass line. This song is also where Frank Sinatra’s influence on the album appears most clearly. Urie pays homage to Sinatra’s jazzy croons while simultaneously displaying his own broad vocal range. From a lower intonation on the verses, he seamlessly shifts into a falsetto on the chorus. In typical Panic! at the Disco fashion, the song’s bridge features a synthesized electronic pulse that complements the classic feel of the rest of the song.
One of the album’s most memorable songs is “LA Devotee.” Starting off with a catchy drumbeat, this track is one to dance to and one that could definitely be found playing on the radio. It’s more exciting and engaging than many of Panic! at the Disco’s attempts at accessible pop in the past both in terms of lyrics and beat.
Death Of A Bachelor is, as all of Panic! at the Disco’s albums are, an experiment—and a successful one at that. Even if the last album left you disillusioned, I would recommend giving Panic! at the Disco another chance. I would even go as far to say that beyond warranting a simple nostalgic listen, Death Of A Bachelor has at least a few songs that you’ll fall in love with and have stuck in your head for the next few weeks.