Panic! at the Disco: Death of a Bachelor
"Tonight we are victorious" sings lead singer Brendon Urie on the song Victorious. This is the first song off the fifth studio album from Panic! at the Disco titled Death of a Bachelor. The chanting/clapping in-your-face crowd pleaser is the perfect song to start a new album full of dramatics and a new change to what fans know as Panic! at the Disco.
This album marks the first for Urie, the last original member of the Panic! line up, who wrote and crafted the album on his own. Original members guitarist Ryan Ross and bassist Jon Walker departed in 2009, and drummer Spencer Smith left last year due to focusing on health and rehabilitation after a recent drug dabble.
The album had been teased over an extended period of time with one of the tracks, Hallelujah, released last April, so for Panic fans, it's a long time coming. The follow up single, Victorious was later released in September, and shortly after, the latest single, Emperor's New Clothes.
Anyone who has been an avid Panic! at the Disco fan, or who has been following their releases know that each record is a different concept entirely. Prior to its release, Urie made it clear that the record was going to have a Frank Sinatra influence and that a lot of the record was inspired by Los Angeles, and he delivered on that promise.
On immediate listen, the record is very dance heavy. With driving synths or upbeat tempos, it's slightly reminiscent of their last release, Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die. Tracks like Victorious, Don't Threaten Me With a Good Time, and The Good the Bad and the Dirty are real examples of such. That being said, the album lightens up a bit with songs like Death of a Bachelor and Impossible Year which feature that Sinatra element of more jazzy and relaxed undertones. There have been an increase in horns and different instruments that make for an interesting musical choice for Panic!, but somehow Urie makes it work. Die hard fans will appreciate tracks like Crazy=Genius as it has the vaudeville familiarity that some of the tracks from their first album shares.
As fun as this record is, it goes without saying it has some weak elements. The lyrics don't seem as emotionally driven in comparison to their previous records, as there's a lot of focus on the partying lifestyle. This record combining both older influences and more current sound keeps diversity but it does struggle for some cohesiveness. The transition from a song with a more aggressive and angrier sound like Emperor's New Clothes to the more jazz based Death of a Bachelor, is quite abrupt for a listener, but then again, Panic! at the Disco is never one to keep consistency. Anyone who has head the transition from their first album (A Fever You Can't Sweat Out) to their follow up (Pretty. Odd.) will understand that.
Undoubtedly this is a completely different Panic! in comparison to the early days of songs I Write Sins not Tragedies and Nine in the Afternoon. Through departures and disputes, fans still diligently follow Panic! no matter the radical changes they may go through. As this record is a growth for Urie, listeners who hear new to Panic! are certainly in for a treat, whereas avid fans are experiencing something brand new, fresh, and more exposed in a musical sense.
Overall, Death of a Bachelor is a challenging record both musically and personally. It's an interesting turn for Urie as he's the now ringleader of this project. As things are about to take off in this era, Panic! at the Disco is starting off with being nothing but victorious.