“Death of a Bachelor” is the latest album from Panic! At The Disco, creative Las Vegas natives who were, since their beginnings in the music industry and the debut “A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out” (which is still one of my favorite albums of all time) considered to be an unusual blend of pop, rock, burlesque and absurdity in a way.
Even though the albums that came after it oscillated in style, theme and yes, band members, one thing always remained constant and that is the amazing lead singer Brendon Urie. Also, their main characteristic has always been Brendon’s unique singing voice, so I am more than happy that he decided to venture out on his own but still retain and go by the Panic! name.
Throughout the years, P!atd went in all musical directions, trying out and mixing several genres in an album… if not in one song. There were some amazing ones, like the debut and then the ones not so great, like “Pretty.Odd” – I can easily skip all the songs on that one, listen to only “Nine In The Afternoon”, and then just doze off, and I would not even care.
All the albums had that main characteristic, that one thing that when you hear a song you just know it is Panic!… and that unique thing is a well put-together chaos and mania in a melody.
All that spiced up and mixed with Brendon’s superb vocals. That said, one can now see Brendon Urie and a band, something like Florence and The Machine, but to me, it is still Panic!. The essence of it is still there, it is even more than the old P!atd, mainly because Brendon now had all the creative freedom. The visuals are more out there, pushing the limit and playing with religion, belief and taboos. Brendon was and still is Panic! At The Disco.
Therefore, you can only imagine my excitement when the album dropped. Being a fan since 2005, and rocking to “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” as a teenager, I was curious how would it all sound, namely because it was all Brendon now.
I can say with certainty that “Death of a Bachelor” is like a colorful collage, every piece has its place and it is cleverly conjoined. In my mind, there are three large pieces of it: the first one being that Panic! specific sound, the sound from their very beginnings – chaos and mania. It is a bundle of sounds all mixed together into one big chaos which can be appealing to the ear, but at the same time it can get a bit messy and just too much.
The album starts with one such song, “Victorious” that sets off into completely different world of sound filled with dazzling and outrageous melodies, combinations and genre pieces that seemingly and logically would not go together, but that kind of chaos just works for Panic!.
Similar is “Emperor’s New Clothes” which can sound so sinister and dark, especially the bridge. The vocals are mind blowing, Brendon is really going for those high notes, a la old-school rock.
My absolute favorite is “Don’t Threaten Me with a Good Time” it just sounds like it was taken off from their 2005 debut, like it belongs to that album and not this. But I am so glad it does, because it is bearable and pleasant to listen, the tempo is perfect and it is not that chaotic and in your face like the others. You can imagine a wild party with lots of heavy drinking, drugs and “things in between” with Brendon as the life of that party. In his words, “it is a helluva of a feeling”.
What makes this album different from the debut is that there are no breaks between the songs, no intermissions. I am fine with that, because the last thing you want while listening to Panic is an intermission, you want to keep the flow going and not have to fast forward or even skip a song.
In the second piece of my made up collage are songs that sound more mature, the ones that are powerful and represent the highlight of Brendon’s creative genius mind.
“Hallelujah” is a melodic and powerful gospel inspired song with average lyrics but excellent composition and altogether feel to it. Among others, “The Good, the Bad and the Dirty” stands out. It has a rich chorus juxtaposed to a simple and lighter introduction which turned out to be a successful formula for a great song.
Somewhere in the middle are “Golden Days” and “LA Devotee”, your standard almost typical Panic! songs, but not that chaotic as the ones in the beginning and yet not that mellow or slow to be considered as pop songs.
And finally, the third piece of my imaginary collage belongs to songs that are quite different in style. The ones that you would not necessarily attribute to Panic! as it weren’t for Brendon’s unique voice.
Those are songs in Frank Sinatra style; pleasant to the ear ballad “Impossible Year”, then partly “Crazy=Genius” apart from the modern rock chorus of course, and the title song “Death of a Bachelor”, which stands as Brendon’s farewell to single life since he got married in 2013.
All in all, this album is surely among the better ones that Panic has offered us. Even though this band is not everyone’s cup of tea, since its style can at times be a bit annoying or too much, one must appreciate it as such since that very same style is the main core, the essence of this band since their early beginnings.