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Death of a Bachelor

Panic! At The Disco | Death of a Bachelor

Label:  Fueled By Ramen
Release Date: January 15, 2016
Rating:  4.0 out of 5
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January 19, 2016
By Jake Boshold
Throughout their 11+ years making music, Panic! At The Disco have been known for changing up their sound and experimenting with different genres, making each one of their albums sounding somewhat different from each other. Their commercially successful 2005 debut, A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out, contained elements of Baroque Pop, Pop-Punk, Electropunk, and Alternative music, while their 2008 sophomore album, Pretty. Odd., replaces the Electro and Pop-Punk sounds of their debut with Psychedelic Pop, adding sections of strings and horns. Pretty. Odd. did not match the success of Fever, but the album gained a cult status of its’ very own, and gained the band new followers. After Odd., bassist Jon Walker and lead guitarist Ryan Ross departed from the band, leaving drummer Spencer Smith, and lead vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Brendon Urie to become a duo.

The absence of Walker and Ross had Urie and Smith stuck for a while, but eventually the duo started experimenting with new sounds and began to find a sound of their own, as well as strengthening their songwriting skills and finding new inspiration. The result eventually ended up being 2011’s Vices & Virtues, which combined the sounds of the band’s previous two efforts, as well as experimenting with different instruments and concepts. The album ended up being more successful than Pretty. Odd., but not as impactful as their debut. In 2013, Panic! released their fourth album, Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die!, along with new bassist/multi-instrumentalist Dallon Weekes. The album was a major departure from the rest of their catalogue, completely lacking the band’s signature Baroque Pop sound, and combining Synthpop, Indie Rock, Alternative Rock, Emo, Hip Hop, and Electropop sounds. Rare ended up being their most critically received release.

In mid-2015, it was reported that Spencer Smith has left the band, and Dillon Weekes has decided to contribute to Panic! as a touring member, rather than an official member. So in a way, Panic! At The Disco’s latest 2016 studio effort, Death of A Bachelor, is a Brendon Urie solo album; it can also be said that Panic! has become a one-man band, considering on Bachelor, Urie utilizes his multi-instrumentation skills more than ever, contributing to lead vocals, backing vocals, lead guitar, rhythm guitar, bass, piano, keyboards, synthesizer, drums, percussion, and the production.

In an interview with radio station Alt 98.7, Urie described the album as “this mix between Sinatra and Queen, if that makes any sense. Every time we do a new album, for me, it’s always evolving and changing—in the best way. There's going to be a new energy live." Considering Urie acted on his own for the most part on Bachelor, the album touches on a lot more personal subjects than previous Panic! albums, such as his relationship with his wife, his childhood, his inner demons, his lifestyle and life choices, and confronting his past. Death of A Bachelor is by far Panic! At The Disco’s most experimental album genre-wise, taking elements of Jazz, Vocal Jazz, Baroque Pop, Swing, Power Pop, Pop-Punk, Hip Hop, Soul, Synthpop, Ska, Alternative Rock, Surf Rock, and R&B. Brendon Urie has more creative control than ever, and has created an album with a sound that’s 100% him.

Vocally and instrumentally, Urie seems to take a lot of influence from the likes of Frank Sinatra on this album, specifically on the album’s title track, which is sung over smooth sounding Jazz and Swing instrumentals and seems to be about Urie leaving a part of his past behind him. The album’s closing track, “Impossible Year,” also sounds very Sinatra and Soul influenced, sung over string and piano instrumentals and has to do with a very dark and miserable year in Brandon’s life, full of heartbreak and depression.

The album’s third single, “Emperor’s New Clothes,” is over a Trap influenced instrumental, and has to do with giving up on love for power and royalty and letting greed and evil take over you. “Don’t Threaten Me with a Good Time,” another highlight off the album, tells the story of the aftermath of a disastrous and drug and liquor-fueled Hollywood party and contains elements of Trap, Synthpop, and Surf Rock.

With Death of a Bachelor, Brendon Urie was able to make the record he’s always dreamed of making, but could not have been done with the addition of outside influences such as his ex band members. Urie was able to make an album that would usually take the effort of a whole band all on his own. Perhaps this was the fate of Panic! At The Disco from the start, maybe Brendon Urie is better off as a one-man band, this is definitely the strongest effort that Panic! has put out to date. But yet again, it might just be a one-time thing and maybe the other band members will come back or Urie will find others to join him. Either way, I am sure the music of Panic! At The Disco will continue to evolve over time as it has the past 11+ years  and will continue to take fans by surprise.

Highlight tracks include “Emperor’s New Clothes,” “Don’t Threaten Me with a Good Time," “Death of a Bachelor,” “Golden Days” and “Victorious.”
Facebook Comments: Keep 'em clean folks!
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