Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Panic! at the Disco changes its style again

By Rachel Arlin

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Courtesy of Silvio Tanaka/Flickr

Panic! at the Disco has been through many stages throughout its career. When the time rolled around for a new album, it released “Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die!” to promote its newest career stage.

P!ATD’s style is not terribly consistent, but the band is known to venture where many bands do not dare to go stylistically. Its quirkiness has enabled it to go far as musicians, and this new release has given the band a fresh new showcase for its distinctive talents.

Ever since P!ATD lost original members Ryan Ross and Jon Walker after the release of 2008’s “Pretty. Odd.,” fans have said the band lost a bit of its character. However, P!ATD proved doubters wrong with its 2011 album, “Vices & Virtues,” which was a considerable success. The band has switched up its styles regularly throughout its career, but fans have always been pleased with the outcome.

The majority of the new album sounds like old 80s pop music. In the album, P!ATD uses more synthesizer and auto-tune than it ever has before, and its new album sounds much more pop-friendly than any of the band’s previous releases. Its overall genre has been questioned many times because it is not easily defined: it is arguable that it even falls under the “alternative rock” or “pop punk” categories. But if those are the only two genres to categorize its latest work in, then this album is without a doubt considered “pop punk.”

P!ATD placed a strong emphasis on keyboard in its new album, and most of the beats throughout are very hypnotic and mysterious, and it’s obvious that the band is trying to suck listeners in with a new sound. The auto-tune fused into Brendon Urie’s singing only casts a bigger spell on the listeners, who were captured by this kind of vocal enchantment on “Pretty. Odd.”

P!ATD released all of its new songs on YouTube on Sept. 30, and promoted two of the albums hits, “Miss Jackson” and “This Is Gospel,” on Facebook. “Miss Jackson” features female vocalist LOLO and conveys a much more mainstream sound. The beat in “Miss Jackson” is often compared to Fall Out Boy’s “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light ‘Em Up).” In fact, Fall Out Boy guitarist Pete Wentz discovered P!ATD, therefore the tributes occur often. The band also acknowledged Fall Out Boy in its song “Nicotine,” as the first line says, “Cross my heart and hope to die,” the same first line as Fall Out Boy’s song “G.I.N.A.S.F.S.” The second hit “This Is Gospel” is just what it sounds like: organs and ominous singing are both used in this song, making it just slightly different from what the rest of the album sounds like.

A song to look out for is “Girls/Girls/Boys.” P!ATD acknowledges an issue in this song is bisexuality. The song is about someone who is bisexual and is struggling with picking up a partner, assumedly of either gender. This is a risky move by P!ATD but it has the potential to pay off and end up being a powerful song that takes on social issues along the line of songs like Macklemore’s “Same Love.” The video for “Girls/Girls/Boy” will definitely get some publicity because Urie appears naked, seemingly as a way to get attention. He clearly wants this song to receive attention to the extent that he’s willing to strip for publicity.

The last song on the album, “The End of All Things” is lyrically interesting because it contains Urie’s wedding vows to Sarah Orzechowski, whom he married earlier in 2013. This is not the first song Urie has written about Sarah – “Sarah Smiles.” a song from “Vices & Virtues” was also addressed to her. “End of All Things” is a cute exchange of affection from Urie, and a nice addition to the album.

Overall, this album is considerably more lively than P!ATD’s previous albums. It has a much happier tone and there aren’t many depressing songs. The only thing this album lacks is guitar: the keyboard tempos seem to upstage everything, but the beats in their entirety are very rhythmic and enticing. If you like how abnormal P!ATD is and how much its style varies even within one album, ”Too Weird” is a must buy.

Rachel Arlin can be reached at [email protected]

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