With all but one member of the group leaving, Panic! At The Disco is a shell of the four-piece rock outfit that used to dominate radio stations across the country. In the release of their new record, Death of a Bachelor, Brendon Urie shows his lust for the past, tweaking the band’s notoriously upbeat style as little as possible.
Panic! At The Disco has always been a highly debated group. While some fans believed the group defined mid- to late-2000s trends through their incorporation of synths and drum machines into emo and pop rock, others found few redeeming qualities in their sound. With lead singer Brendon Urie at the helm, these debates will likely continue as Death of a Bachelor deviates very little from Panic’s signature style, creating a more modernized version of the group’s sound.
The two standout moments of the record are oddly the most out of place. Urie channels his inner Frank Sinatra during the album’s title track and “Impossible Year,” crooning as if he were in the swing era. Although this style definitely isn’t something a listener would expect to hear from Urie, it still helps create a couple of entertaining and impressive songs.
Aside from these two songs, Urie has sporadic breakout moments with his vocals or lyrics, but nothing in particular stands out. Most songs are textbook bubble gum pop with some extra guitar moments and emo-esque lyrics, just so the songs can be classified as something other than pop music. “Crazy=Genius” sounds like it could have been on any of Panic’s previous albums and will likely please fans with some tricky sampling and intriguing lyrics to make it a fun and notable song, but the next track, “LA Devotee,” has almost no enduring impact because of how bland it sounds in comparison.
In terms of production, very few risks are taken, if any at all. The entire middle of the album, from the album’s third track, “Hallelujah,” to its eighth, “Golden Days,” becomes a blur after one listen, with each song blending into another due to extremely bland songwriting and dynamics.
Occasionally, Urie attempts to do something different with a track’s composition, adding an array of shrill digital effects to jazz up songs. Death of a Bachelor’s lead track and second single, “Victorious,” is playful but incessantly annoying with its shrill auto-tuned vocals during the chorus. Even worse are the track’s lyrics, which include lines such as “skin as cool as Steve McQueen,” and “eyes like broken Christmas lights.”
During the same song, Urie sings about how a character is “livin’ like a washed up celebrity,” during a party. It’s hard to tell if he’s is making up this person or if he’s actually talking about himself.
The obvious truth is that, although Urie might be creating music similar to Panic! At The Disco’s style, he is using the group’s name to help get attention for releases and shows.
Whether that sales tactic will work should become apparent soon. However, for anyone who’s heard a Panic! At The Disco album before, there’s little new to experience here. Longtime listeners of the group should definitely buy the album, but beyond that audience, Death of a Bachelor falls flat.
Album: Death of a Bachelor
- Genre: Pop
- Tracks: 11
- Grade: C