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With ‘Death of a Bachelor,’ Panic! At The Disco lives

| Thursday, January 21, 2016

Panic!_Scene_WebLucy Du | The Observer

Panic! At The Disco’s fifth studio album, “Death of a Bachelor,” dropped Jan. 15, and it packs a punch — an inconsistent punch, but a punch nonetheless.

In an interview with Alt 98.7, vocalist Brendon Urie told the station that the new album would be “this mix between Sinatra and Queen, if that makes any sense.”

It doesn’t. There are certainly songs reminiscent of Sinatra, such as “Impossible Year” and the titular “Death of a Bachelor,” but Queen’s influence —a s well as the operatic rock present on Panic!’s previous albums — seems to be absent.

“House of Memories” and “Golden Days” are both bland and unremarkable, and Urie’s talent is wasted on the sing-songy “Victorious.” While it’s an upbeat start to the album, the chorus “Tonight we are victorious / Champagne pouring over us / All my friends were glorious / Tonight we are victorious” is trite.

However, there are several standouts on the album that warrant a listen.

Panic!’s strength lies in their vaudeville-inspired spooky pop sound, furthered by Brendon Urie’s powerful voice. This compelling combination is most evident in “Emperor’s New Clothes,” a chilling account that embodies the lyrics, “I’m taking back the crown,” in its execution.

The track was released as a single before the album release, accompanied by a disturbing music video featuring a half-naked Urie falling from “heaven” and sprouting wings, horns and a gargoyle-esque chin. Skeletons sing a few verses in the background, because what would Panic! at the Disco be without their tendency to tread the line between weird and cheesy?

The song itself makes use of Urie’s incredible range in low, quiet verses and an aggressive, self-assured chorus. At one point in the music video, Urie spreads his (literal) wings and lets out a falsetto note so high you might wonder if you’re in heaven after all.

The title track, “Death of a Bachelor,” showcases Urie’s strong vocals as he channels Sinatra to both mourn and celebrate the end of single life: “I’m walking the long road, watching the sky fall / The lace in your dress tangles my neck, how do I live?” he croons.

The jazzy “Death of a Bachelor” is accompanied by an equally slick black and white music video where Urie serenades an empty room with his falsetto. The video has over 5 million views.

The rest of the album includes “Crazy=Genius,” another throwback to Panic!’s jazz phase, and the melancholy “Impossible Year.” It’s not Panic!’s best, but it’s certainly not their worst.

“Heroes always get remembered / But you know legends never die,” Urie growls in “Emperor’s New Clothes.” This is certainly true of Panic!, or maybe just Urie. The band has been around since 2004, when childhood friends Ryan Ross, Spencer Smith, Brent Wilson and Urie began recording demos.

Urie is the only original band member remaining. In fact, he’s the only person on the band’s official lineup. He sings, plays lead guitar, bass guitar, keyboard, piano, percussion and synthesizer — a one-man show definitely worthy of being called a legend. Despite the loss of his fellow band members, Urie has persevered: Panic! at the Disco will be touring with Weezer this summer and they created an album with a few great songs.

Shamrocks: 3.5/5

Favorite songs: “Emperor’s New Clothes,” “Death of a Bachelor,” “Impossible Year”

If you like: Paramore, Fall Out Boy

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