I’ll be short, sweet and positive with music impressions. I don’t call them reviews, as I find music an impossible thing to judge, and everyone’s ears give them their own experience. I’m also a musician and creative, so it’s dangerous to spend too much time critiquing versus studying something you enjoy. Typically, if I write about it, I enjoy it, unless I come across something that offends my sensibilities so much that I gotta dunk on it.
Let’s get it out of the way, yes, everyone is listening to the new NIN album today instead.
But honestly did anyone ever expect, when Brandon Urie first showed up in a fucking top hat and circus ringmaster coat with derivative songs named with complete sentences and being a nosy prick at other people’s weddings, that’d he would actually be the last one standing of the 00s scene?
Sure, Fallout Boy came back, but let’s face it they suck. During the decade that followed Panic!’s debut album, Brandon has honed his voice to a razor sharp edge, taking fans through the ride of various homages to his favorite acts through sleepy covers of Smashing Pumpkins ballads at festivals, or an entire album that’s a love letter to the Beatles (that I’m quite fond of actually), and complete band reconfigurations until he was the only one left; which well, is pretty common from his era, just look at Paramore.
Anyway that’s all beside the point; like another 00s rockstar Brandon that’s enjoying some revitalized success, he’s emerged from the other side of it all playing the part of a ladykilling playboy with impeccable hair, a nice suit and a taste for gray goose; it helps that his voice is on point. The opening track is a tour de force that quickly establishes through a lengthy rant of dirty words that he’s here and he wants you to hear him, goddamnit. It never gets tawdry, though; his flowerly lyrics about silk tourniquets are delivered in a way that sounds completely alien to the pop punk emo world of a decade ago. It’s a great marriage of Urie’s knack for purple prose with modern production sensibilities.
Some complaints: the lyrics could be a bit sharper at some points (a few too many songs about meeting up brings to mind Jared Leto’s hobby of sliding into DMs), and some production missteps occur, I’m not a fan of the warbly high pitched voice that’s featured on the album, especially since Urie isn’t afraid to belt out something in the very very upper register himself. But hey, it wouldn’t be a risk if it didn’t have a chance of not working out. After all if artists always listened to people like me nitpicking, you wouldn’t have had something like The Reflex bringing Duran Duran (who, for the record are the band I took all this ‘Panic’ nonsense from with their classic banger ‘Girl Panic’) to the US way back when, right?
At a low-fat 32 minutes long, it’s definitely a worthy listen, maybe with a nice Tom Collins in hand. You can skip the last track though, an overly long ballad that goes nowhere (ballads appear to be a lost art these days). Definitely would be interested in catching the tour when it comes by; I wonder why there’s no festival gigs for the band?