So I’m sticking with the “favorite bands” thing for these first few track-by-tracks. Up next: Panic! At the Disco. While technically the band is really just one member, Panic! still counts as a band to many people. Self-included, clearly!
A little about this album: it’s the fourth studio album by Panic!, released earlier this year. It’s the first album to be recorded without original drummer Spencer Smith, who left the band in April 2015. Frontman and singer Brendon Urie, in an interview with iHeartRadio, has described the sound of this album as ranging from “anywhere from jazz, to rock, to new wave, to hip hop, and everywhere in between. But I guess I would describe it as Panic! 2.0.”
Honestly, I really couldn’t get into this track when it was initially released as a single. It just didn’t catch my eye–or I guess I should say, my ear. (Sorry, that was a terrible pun. Moving on.) But it grew on me and now I love it. Fun fact: according to Brendon, when they were recording this song in the studio, he almost passed out recording that one really long note in the beginning of the song.
2. Don’t Threaten Me With a Good Time
LOVE. THIS. SONG. I had a feeling it would be become a music video, the sound and lyrics are too perfect to just be a normal track. So imagine how psyched I was when the music video was released–and it had paranormal, dark stuff happening. Classic Panic! and honestly this video doesn’t disappoint. My only complaints are that we didn’t get to see Brendon in a wedding gown or heels!!
Edit: I just found out that the music for this song is sampled from the B-52’s song “Rock Lobster.” Shoutout to my dad for his endless music knowledge!
First off, the music video is pretty trippy! It makes me think of some of the Pretty. Odd. music videos. Interesting fact: when talking about this song, Brendon mentioned how, having grown up in a religious Mormon household, “hallelujah” was always such a strong word. He personally “learned [the meaning of the word] through music instead of religion.” Something about that last bit just caught my attention and cast some of this song into a different light. Additionally, the lyric “under the covers with secondhand lovers” is a mini-reference to Elton John’s “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues.”
4. Emperor’s New Clothes
I’m gonna start out with the music video again, sorry! But I love how this video picks up where the video for “This is Gospel” left off. I’m still keeping my fingers crossed that a future music video will pick up where this one left off! It didn’t surprise me one bit that Brendon decided to transform into a demon (at least, I think he’s a demon?). The whole video made me think a lot of A Nightmare Before Christmas, particularly the part with the singing skulls. I found a funny tumblr edit on social media a while ago, where someone joked that the skulls were the 3 other original members (Ryan Ross, Spencer Smith, Jon Walker) of Panic! in skull suits.
So this is one of two tracks on the album that are heavily influenced by the sound of Frank Sinatra. But unlike “Impossible Year,” “Death of a Bachelor” has a semi-upbeat tone to it. This song is sort of self-autobiographical to Urie’s life. In the time period between Panic!’s last album (Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die, 2013) and DOAB, Brendon married his wife Sarah. The title is meant to represent the huge life change Urie underwent upon marriage. The song sort of makes it soung like a bad thing, but when you look at the lyrics aside from the song–and at the meanings, plus images of how Brendon looks at his wife–you realize that Urie does not feel as negative as the song sounds. Also, in addition to the music video, enjoy this live video of Urie being his natural self while singing this track. Also, watch it just to hear him naturally hit those high notes. Wow.
This is definitely one of my favorite Panic! tracks, both on the album and in general. I love how the song has a vintage swing music sound that’s simultaneously contemporary. Sheer genius and total Panic!. I found this awesome article by a guy named Clifford Stumme where he did this really interesting and quite accurate interpretation of the lyrics. According to Stumme, the song is about a girlfriend telling her boyfriend he’s boring and him arguing back that he’s “the “rocket scientist” equivalent of crazy.” It also finally explained the Mike Love, Dennis Wilson, and Brian Wilson references (Beach Boys members…oops. In my defense, I was never a big Beach Boys fan.)
7. LA Devotee
I absolutely love how the song is so lighthearted and even Brendon has stated that it’s supposed to be “a love letter to Los Angeles” (iHeartRadio interview). And then you have the music video which is super freaking nuts and dark, and includes that kid Will from Stranger Things who gets kidnapped. It’s the best kind of contrast ever, and I’m not even a little bit surprised that this was done for a Panic! song. Side note: I am one of those people who never watched the show. I’ll take Supernatural over a bunch of little kids messing with stuff they shouldn’t be messing with and a crazy-ass mom who fools around with lights. (That and I just don’t care enough to watch the show. To each their own opinions.)
8. Golden Days
So I don’t know if what I inserted below will work, but in the case it didn’t, it’s a tweet by Brendon stating one of his favorite lyrics from this album:”Time can never break your heart but it can take the pain away.” This lyric is from this song, which honestly is an underrated track on this album. The whole song is about looking back at old mementos–in this case, old Polaroid shots of one’s young and golden years–and remembering those “golden days” of summer, of how things used to be. In this song, he’s promising to “repaint” these memories for someone: although whether it’ll be true to how things actually went, though, is non-discernible. Also, I looked up “Farrah Fawcett” to understand the reference–basically, she had that typical 1970s hair. Think Laurie from That 70s Show.
9. The Good, the Bad, and the Dirty
This is another song I could see becoming a music video. I’m surprised it hasn’t gotten the music video treatment already, but who knows? Sound-wise, it’s a lot like “Don’t Threaten Me With a Good Time.” Both songs’ sound style is very reminiscent of tracks from Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die, particularly “Miss Jackson.” The lyrics are interesting. One line in particular caught my eye, as well as others apparently: “I know what it’s like to have to trade/The ones that you love for the ones you hate.” According to a commentator on the Genius lyrics and Stumme’s analysis of the song, it references the cycling in and out of band members. As for the rest of the lyrics, enjoy the clip below of Brendon explaining how he came up the lyrics.
10. House of Memories
So this track is about a past relationship that ended, and the guy is remembering the relationship: although like in Golden Days,” it’s possible he’s not remembering it properly. He’s begging the girl to remember him even “when your fantasies/Become your legacies.” What I love about this track is how Brendon could have taken a more whimsical musical spin, but he went with a more dark sound. I love how he describes it though: see the video below to hear it and I bet it’ll make you laugh too.
11. Impossible Year
This song is easily the saddest and most solemn track on the album. You kind of have to be in a certain mood, and definitely have to be prepared, in order to listen to this song. I do love how Brendon went for a very classic, Frank Sinatra-era-crooner kind of sound. It’s just so him, plus I know how much he admires and looks up to Sinatra. Perfect way to make a tribute to Sinatra’s music. What I also noticed about this track is that it’s the second Panic! album to closeout with a slow, sad-sounding song. On Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die, the last track is “The End of All Things,” which Brendon once told Billboard could possibly be the song he’d pre-pick to have played at his funeral.♫
And there it is! I hope you liked this post–if you did, give this blog a follow! I’d also head over to the Say Hello! page and follow me on social media to get regular updates about future posts!
**Note: I went to add the iHeartRadio interview link, but it is my belief that the article was removed as I could not find it.