Teen Pop Punk: All Grown Up
“Heroes always get remembered. But you know, legends never die.” The fifth studio album from Panic! At the Disco pays homage to Brendan Urie’s bachelor days. As the only original band member left, Urie sings and plays all instruments, except for the brass, in these songs. And he deserves major props for his enduring passion and creativity. Urie claims that much of this album bears Frank Sinatra and Queen influences –perhaps more of the former than the latter, at least when it comes to that jazzy feel in songs like the title track.
There’s no doubt that Panic! has shifted away from the techno-y, emo, power pop, cabaret band that created A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out to a more mature, solo act for Brendan Urie. All of the tracks on Death of a Bachelor were written at the home he now shares with new wife Sarah, as he compares his present with his younger days. He bids farewell to that crazy party life in the album cover and in songs with a more humorous-sarcastic tone like “Don’t Threaten Me with a Good Time,” which features random, yet clever lyrics, such as “I’m not as think as you drunk I am.” Meanwhile, the single “Emperor’s New Clothes” was written to gain closure with drummer Spencer Smith leaving to battle an addiction problem. The song conveys the notion of succumbing to dark desires with the very impressive music video showing Urie’s transformation into a monster. In it, the choreography, constume, and set design were pieced together in quite a masterpiece of thematic expression.
However, some songs on the album leave a little something to be desired. The single “Victorious,” for example, is a bit annoying in its overly-simple pop lyrics and style. “Oh we got to turn up the crazy / living like a washed up celebrity / shooting fireworks like it’s the Fourth of July” is more reminiscent of a Katy Perry song than anything else. Moreover, the yelling and noisy, over-compression in songs “Crazy=Genius” and “Golden Days” are just too evident. On the other hand, “LA Devotee,” Urie’s tribute to Los Angeles, is pretty catchy, sweet, and the perfect mix to make you want to dance.
Overall, although it’s called Death of a Bachelor, the latest from Panic! At the Disco reveals the immortality of Brendan Urie’s creativity throughout the multiple changes in his life and career.